COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Providence Friars shocked the world of soccer Nov. 20. Headlines were scratched and tears were wept as Maryland men's soccer squandered a cushy second half-lead and fell to the Friars 5-4 at home in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Don't let the scoreboard fool you, this wasn't a tightly-contested back-and-forth game. This was a game the Terps were supposed to not only just win, but dominate. The top-seeded Terps led 4-1 deep into the second half, with goals coming at ease seemingly ever couple of possessions.
Gordon Wild, the Terps' offensive juggernaut, connected with the back of the net off a free kick in the fifth minute of play to give Maryland an early 1-0 lead. In similar fashion, midfielder Amar Sejdic connected on a free possession later in the half to give the Terps a 2-1 lead by halftime.
Despite the halftime lead, the Terps looked exposable on defense. It didn't seem like an issue at the time considering the team's lead, but it proved to be bad omens for what would come. A traditionally smothering back line found itself torched on numerous occasions, including Julian Gressel's first half goal that was scored by just outrunning a lackadaisical defensive unit.
Sejdic and sophomore Eryk Williamson converted on back-to-back goals to extend Maryland's lead to 4-1, with all signs pointing towards a blowout victory at Ludwig.
Only, the Friars did not go easily.
With 21 minutes to play and Providence's chances looking slim, Gressel connected from point blank range to cut the Friars deficit to two goals. Then 36 seconds later, Nick Sailor scored his first goal of the season to cut the Terps' lead to just one. All of a sudden, Maryland's once cushy lead seemed to hang in the balance.
Steven Kilday became the third player to score his first goal of the season against the Terps, and it came just six minutes after the Friars scored their second goal of the season. In a span of seven minutes, Providence had completely erased the Terps' lead and the No. 1 Terps were suddenly on the ropes.
As if the game wasn't already strange enough, Joao Serrano scored on an untouched corner kick that the strong winds of the night helped to guide in. Before Cirovski and Co. knew what hit them, Maryland was now down 5-4 on the brink of losing their first game of the season.
The Terps couldn't make up the difference, suffering their first loss of the 2016 season in heartbreaking fashion. As unlikely as it seemed, Maryland's perfect season came to an end at home in front of some of college soccer's most enthusiastic fans. Maryland finished the season 18-1-2, and the journey for another national championship will be put on hold for another year.