Marc Burch made his first start since early October count for the Maryland men’s soccer team.
Burch scored in the 26th minute as the top-seeded Terrapins shook off frigid conditions and a defensive-minded foe, edging Brown 1-0 last night before 1,571 at Ludwig Field in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“We really needed to get that first goal, because they obviously put a lot of numbers behind the ball and congested things,” said Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski, whose team is attempting to reach the Final Four for the fourth consecutive season.
The Terps (16-4-1) will meet St. John’s on Sunday in the round of 16 at Ludwig, the third straight year the teams have met in the postseason. The Red Storm (11-5-5) upended No. 16 seed Dartmouth yesterday.
Maryland had not played since a Nov. 11 loss to Duke in the ACC semifinals, and the Terps didn’t have their usual precision to finish scoring opportunities for much of the night. The Terps’ potent attack probed the Brown defense for much of the first half, getting the better of play if not the scoreboard.
The Terps finally converted a chance in the 26th minute. Midfielder A.J. Godbolt sent a pass into the box to Burch, who threaded between a pair of defenders. Burch was there when the pass arrived and easily beat keeper Jarrett Leech from 8 yards out for his third goal of the season.
“I saw A.J. look up and he likes to play that ball a lot,” Burch said. “I just ran to where I knew he hit it.”
Burch made his first start since Oct. 7, and the transfer from Evansville didn’t disappoint. It was especially important since Brown central defenders Matt Britner and Rhett Bernstein combined to shut down Terps star Jason Garey, who was held without a point for the first time in 12 games.
The Bears (11-5-2) couldn’t apply much pressure on Maryland keeper Chris Seitz, who made three saves. Brown, forced into a defensive posture for much of the night, began a push with about 30 minutes left and earned a pair of corner kicks in the 73rd minute. The Bears’ best sustained opportunity came in the closing minutes, but Seitz grabbed a shot from outside the box to end the threat.