Saturday, December 10, 2005

ATH: SMU falls in NCAA Quarterfinals

But look at what they have to work with the next couple of years!

Terps deny SMU spot in soccer national title game
By CALVIN WATKINS /The Dallas Morning News / 11:57 PM CST on Friday, December 9, 2005

CARY, N.C. – Maryland was taller, stronger and played with more confidence than SMU on Friday night.

In its fourth consecutive College Cup appearance, Maryland ended SMU's improbable season with a 4-1 victory in the national semifinals in front of 8,645 fans at SAS Soccer Park.

Maryland (18-4-2), the No. 1 seed, will play New Mexico on Sunday in the national title game.

"The difference in the game was you had a Maryland team that was experienced and played with much more confidence," SMU coach Schellas Hyndman said. "We played four freshmen in this environment. The whole College Cup hurt our players to the point where they were not able to play with confidence."

SMU (14-6-3) didn't look like a postseason team after starting the season 2-4-2. Hyndman said he wasn't thinking about the College Cup after the start.

The Mustangs went 12-1-1 heading into the College Cup semifinals and won three tournament games on the road.

All week, SMU's players figured destiny was why this young club, nine freshmen and three sophomores, had reached this round.

Maryland, however, was more physical in pushing SMU down on the slippery turf and out-muscling the Mustangs for balls along the flanks and in the middle of the field.

SMU's Kellan Zindel missed an opportunity to score in the Mustangs' semifinal loss.
"They were a pretty physical team," SMU senior forward Duke Hashimoto said. "They were a lot bigger than we were used to seeing and they used it to their advantage."

SMU appeared rattled by the loud Maryland fans sitting behind its bench. In the second half, the Terrapins students stood behind the Mustangs' goal and yelled.

"It does have an effect on the game, but [where people sit is] not in my control," Hyndman said.

The Terrapins controlled play in the first half despite missing on numerous scoring opportunities.

Other than a goal by freshman Paulo da Silva, SMU's only real scoring chance occurred in the 18th minute when Hashimoto sent a left-footed strike from 10 yards toward the left post. The shot was knocked out of bounds by Maryland goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

"I think looking back on that, I probably could have taken that in a little bit," Hashimoto said. "But I felt like I had the shot, and the goalie made a good save."

Hyndman told his assistant coaches that if his team could go into halftime with a tie it could "build the boys' confidence."

With 1:45 to play, Graham Zusi scored on a one-timer from eight yards away for a 1-0 Maryland lead. It appeared to be a deflating goal as the second half started.

Maryland's Jason Garey, who was named a semifinalist Friday for the Hermann Trophy, given to the best player in college soccer, sent a loose ball in front of the net for a 2-0 lead at 46:41.

Then, 15 seconds later, Garey struck again when he beat SMU goalkeeper Matt Wideman on a breakaway with a right-footed shot for a 3-0 lead.

The time between the goals was the fastest in College Cup history.

"We came out flat," Wideman said. "Once they scored that first goal, everybody's spirits went down and we had to regroup."

The loss does not mean SMU's season was a failure. The Mustangs reached the postseason for the 12th consecutive season and played in the College Cup for the second time in the program's history (the last Cup appearance was in 2000).

"I'm proud of how we played all season, especially [Friday]," Wideman said.

New Mexico advanced to Sunday's final with a 2-1 win over Clemson. Andrew Boyens scored the game-winning goal midway in the second half and assisted on the other goal for the Lobos (18-1-3). Clemson (15-6-3) missed on a chance to tie with 25 seconds left in the game.


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