With Maryland men’s soccer leading Providence 4-1 in the second half of the 2016 NCAA tournament second round, Justin Gielen left Ludwig Field, comfortable that the Terps had secured victory.

But after his departure, he was disappointed with each notification he received on his phone. The Friars scored four unanswered goals in under 13 minutes, completing an unforeseeable comeback over the No. 1 seed — and Gielen’s future program — in the tournament.

The stunning loss was two years removed from a season-ending defeat to in-state foe UMBC, and a year before last season’s penalty-kick loss at Ludwig Field to Albany in the first round. The Terps have now lost three of their past four home games in the NCAA tournament.

Gielen, now a freshman, hopes to contribute off the bench for No. 11-seed Maryland against NC State Sunday at home in the second round, as the Terps look to reverse their tournament misfortunes at Ludwig Field.

“I’m super excited to finally be able to take part in the NCAA tournament. The big dance, it’s a lot of fun,” Gielen said. “I’m excited to redeem ourselves and make a good run this year.”

[Read more: Maryland men’s soccer was lucky to force a shootout, but got unlucky in it]

In 2013, Maryland went to the College Cup for the second consecutive year but lost 2-1 to Notre Dame in the national championship. Since then, the Terps have been inconsistent in their first game of the tournament.

The No. 4-seeded Terps suffered an upset loss to UMBC after a 70th-minute goal started the Retrievers’ improbable College Cup run in 2014. Maryland, as the No. 10-seed in 2015, rebounded and fell one game short of another championship weekend appearance.

In the last two years, though, the Terps haven’t won a tournament game. After the disaster against Providence two seasons ago, Maryland was unseeded for the first time since 2009 last year and had to play in the first round. The Terps played to a 0-0 draw but lost on penalty kicks.

Now, coach Sasho Cirovski recognizes the importance of winning the first game.

“Winning the first game is the most important game of any tournament,” he said. “This is a massive opportunity for us to get jump-started.”

[Read more: Maryland men’s soccer receives No. 11-seed in NCAA tournament, first-round bye]

The Terps entered last year’s tournament coming off five consecutive losses. Goals were suddenly sparse, the chemistry was lacking and confidence was lower than ever.

This year, the team is trending the opposite direction after enduring the second-toughest schedule in the country. The Terps are winners of four of their last six games and scoring more frequently than at the beginning of the season.

“We did survive it. Now is the opportunity to thrive from surviving the schedule,” Cirovski said. “I like the mindset of this team going into the tournament much more than I did last year’s team.“

And despite not knowing if the team will be fully healthy for the tournament, Maryland remains confident in the depth it showcased during the Big Ten tournament.

In Maryland’s 1-0 Big Ten quarterfinal win against Michigan State, forwards Vinicius Lansade and Eric Matzelevich — two substitutes — combined for the assist and goal in overtime. In the semifinal against Indiana, defender Ben Di Rosa was called upon to play right back because of injuries, and he scored the lone goal.

Maryland hasn’t played at Ludwig Field since Oct. 23, playing its last three games on the road. The Terps are currently on a three-game winning streak at home, outscoring opponents 9-2 during the span.

While the Terps have struggled to win at Ludwig Field in recent tournaments, midfielder Amar Sejdic is confident that this year is different.

As a sophomore, he scored two squandered goals in that 5-4 loss to Providence. The defeat capped off an undefeated regular season that didn’t feature the same adversity the 2018 squad has encountered.

“We’ve been through it all this year,” Sejdic said. “We’ve went to nine overtime games, so we know the type of grit and determination it’s going to take to win games. We just have to make sure we capitalize on our chances and we don’t give too many away.”