After Eric Matzelevich watched his header strike the crossbar and fall into the net, he raised his fist in the air and ran to embrace his Maryland men’s soccer teammates.

The forward had flicked his head to redirect midfielder Eli Crognale’s cross into the box, and the ball beat the reach of Rutgers goalkeeper Rafael Pereira to give Maryland a 1-0 lead over Rutgers in the 14th minute Wednesday.

The early goal allowed for a brief celebration, but after facing a similar situation Friday night in an eventual 2-1 loss in double-overtime to Wisconsin, the Terps kept pushing for their first two-goal lead of the season. Maryland held its 1-0 advantage for 82 minutes against the Badgers before allowing an equalizer with less than a minute to go in regulation.

At Yurcak Field on Wednesday, the Terps didn’t allow that letdown to repeat itself. Midfielder Amar Sejdic tapped a pass from William James Herve into the back of the net in the 78th minute, capping off Maryland’s 2-0 win on the road.

“It was a very good response to Friday’s game,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We all took Friday’s loss very hard and it took a few days to swallow that bitter pill, but beginning with Sunday’s practice we began to move forward.”

Rutgers (1-6-1), which had allowed 20 goals in seven games this season, emphasized defense early in the game. The Scarlet Knights kept 10 players behind the ball, not allowing much room for Maryland’s offense to operate.

For the second straight game, though, Maryland (3-3-2) earned a 1-0 lead early into the first half. The Terps anticipated a passive defense and were prepared to play aggressive offense on the road.

“Our game plan was to attack and play a Maryland style,” Matzelevich said. “They sat back, but we knew they had flaws in their backline and we wanted to expose that with the attacking talent that we have.”

Crognale’s initial corner kick was cleared out of the box back to him on the left wing. The junior took a few touches before trying another cross. The second attempt proved successful, as it found Matzelevich’s head for his first goal of the season.

In that moment, the Terps knew they needed to score again regardless of whether or not Rutgers would retaliate.

“Immediately our reaction was to see how we can another one because we wanted to take the pressure off the backline,” Matzelevich said. “We wanted to shove it down their throats and score some more.”

Cirovski believed his team could’ve gotten at least two goals in the first half, but Rutgers maintained its defensive approach for the rest of the half to preserve a one-goal deficit.

Terps goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair made three first-half saves to prevent an equalizer before the break.

It took about 64 more minutes for Maryland to add to its edge, but Maryland’s backline held up to prevent another heartbreak. Rutgers didn’t have a shot in the second half until the 76th minute, and St. Clair only made two saves in the final 45 minutes.

Two minutes after the Scarlet Knights’ first look at goal in the second half, Maryland’s counter-attack solidified the victory. Herve’s pass into the middle of the box left Sejdic with an easy first-time shot to put the game away.

This time, there wouldn’t be a devastating last-minute equalizer.

“We wanted to not make that mistake again,” Crognale said. “Luckily, we rewarded ourselves in the last 15 [minutes].”