- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

As the final seconds ticked away in yesterday's NCAA Division I men's soccer quarterfinal, hundreds of fans from an overflow crowd swarmed onto Ludwig Field and Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski emphatically raised his arms in triumph.
After four long years away, Maryland was back in the final four.
Sophomore Domenic Mediate scored two goals, including his third straight game-winner, as the second-seeded Terrapins throttled Connecticut 3-0 and advanced to their first final four since 1998.
The Terps (20-4) will face the winner of last night's UCLA-Penn State game in a semifinal Friday in Dallas.
Since the Terps' last trip to the final four, they suffered though a first-round loss in 1999 and an injury-decimated season the following year. Last season the Terps reached the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament but played the season without striker Abe Thompson.
"When we were there in '98, I didn't think it would take four years to get back," Cirovski said. "We had a great team at that point and a young team. One thing about college soccer is that it's very unpredictable. You don't know what's going to happen. You need to savor the moment you have. The last few years we have gone through makes me appreciate this moment a heck of a lot more than I otherwise would have."
Mediate took advantage of the slick field conditions to put the Terps ahead early in the second half. After taking a pass on the left side from Seth Stammler in the 60th minute, Mediate drove past a Connecticut defender who slipped, then drilled a shot into the left corner.
Mediate has scored the game-winner in the Terps' three NCAA tournament victories and has been involved in a game-winning goal in seven straight contests.
"He's just a good American player," Connecticut goalkeeper Adam Schuerman said. "He doesn't have a lot of technical skill, but he just runs fast and they have Abe Thompson up top. They have two strikers up top, and they just flow together and it worked for them today."
Instead of resorting to a conservative offense, the Terps continued to press after taking the lead and nearly scored twice in the following 20 minutes. However, Maryland didn't get its first insurance goal until Connecticut defender Marcus Svensson sent a pass off Schuerman and into the net for an own goal in the 82nd minute.
Mediate scored again with less than two minutes left on a counterattack. After sprinting downfield with Thompson and Sumed Ibrahim on a 3-on-1, Mediate gathered a deflection off Schuerman and sent it into the goal.
Connecticut (16-6-1) controlled much of the first half and had several chances to take the lead. In the 19th minute, Leandro de Oliveira uncorked a shot from 35 yards out that arched away from Maryland goalkeeper Noah Palmer (seven saves) but bounced off the upper left post.
The Terps, though, fended off the early threat and evened the play by the end of the first half before getting both the sun and the wind at their backs in the second half.
The crowd of 3,460 was the second biggest in Ludwig's eight-year history, behind only the 3,723 who saw the Terps and Virginia play a scoreless tie early in the 1997 season. Banks of snow removed from a tarp covering the field were in front of the stands, and many fans were lined up on the track around the field.
"I've been here 10 years, and I think that's the best atmosphere we've ever had at Maryland," Cirovski said. "To do it in a winter wonderland like today on the field of dreams was really amazing."

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