2018 College Cup

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Maryland wins NCAA men’s soccer title, beating Akron 1-0

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) Amar Sejdic scored on a penalty kick in the 57th minute and Maryland held off Akron 1-0 on Sunday night to win its fourth NCAA soccer title.

“It’s a moment that I’ve thought of since I came to Maryland. I knew that if the moment came I wanted to be the guy to step up and take it,” Sejdic said. “Scoring a goal in a meaningful match like that and celebrating with all the players is something that I’ll remember forever.”

[LISTEN: The Two Robbies]

Akron’s Colin Biros kicked Johaness Bergmann in the face pursuing the ball inside the 18-yard box, resulting in the penalty shot. Sejdic calmly converted the opportunity with a well-struck shot to the right of Ben Lundt after the goalkeeper guessed wrong and dove to the left.

“I thought he would go to my left and he went to my right,” Lundt said.

Dayne St. Clair made two saves in Maryland’s fifth straight shutout.

“We’re brothers,” St. Clair said. “We’re so close. The relationship this team has is sensational, and I think that’s why we’re sitting here today.”

The goal came on Maryland’s first penalty kick during regulation play all season.

“I could not be more proud of this group,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We talked about this being a big moment for our program. They were pushed and hardened after a challenging schedule. And now, they’re jewels. I am incredibly happy for them.”

Maryland shared the 1968 title with Michigan State and also won championships in 2005 and 2008. Cirovski won his third title at the school.

“We needed to sort of get back to the Maryland way of doing thing,” Cirovski said. “One of those things was like Dayne (St. Clair) mentioned, is to be prideful on the defensive side of the ball and make it hard to play against Maryland.”

Maryland finished the season 13-6-4, and Akron was 15-7-2.

“We knew that they would be aggressive, try to press us and disrupt our rhythm,” Akron coach Jared Embick said. “We never really got in a comfort zone and I credit Maryland’s work rate and pressure.”

Sejdic was selected the College Cup’s Most Outstanding Player.

“Within us, we’ve been through it all,” Sejdic said. “It means so much to me to wear the captain’s armband for this university. And it’s an honor for us to be able to lift up this trophy.”

Wake Forest No. 1 as NCAA D-I Tournament set

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Wake Forest is the No. 1 seed for the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament, Bobby Muuss’ men aiming to go back to the College Cup final for the second time in three years.

[ USMNT: Nagbe, Steffen out ]

The Demon Deacons have produced a strong crop of MLS players, including Jack Harrison, Ian Harkes, Sam Cronin, and Ike Opara.

Other seeded teams are Syracuse, Stanford, Saint Mary’s, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Louisville, Kentucky, Central Florida, Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Denver, and Indiana (It pays to be in the ACC).

A fun side note for those who don’t follow the college game: One of Duke’s top players is goalkeeper Will Pulisic, brother of USMNT and Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic.

First two rounds
New Hampshire vs. Colgate (winner vs. Wake Forest)
Akron vs. Rider (winner vs. Syracuse)
UC Irvine vs. Grand Canyon (winner vs. Stanford)
Oregon State vs. Southern Methodist (winner vs. Saint Mary’s)
High Point vs. James Madison (winner vs. North Carolina)
Charlotte vs. Georgia State (winner vs. Virginia Tech)
West Virginia vs. LIU Brooklyn (winner vs. Georgetown)
Michigan State vs. Illinois-Chicago (winner vs. Louisville)
Portland vs. UCLA (winner vs. Kentucky)
Washington vs. Lipscomb (winner vs. Central Florida)
NC State vs. Campbell (winner vs. Maryland)
Pacific vs. UC Riverside (winner vs. Duke)
Michigan vs. Princeton (winner vs. Notre Dame)
UNC-Wilmington vs. Furman (winner vs. Virginia)
Air Force vs. Central Arkansas (winner vs. Denver)
UConn vs. Rhode Island (winner vs. Indiana)