Maryland men’s soccer was supposed to start its season in August, and — with its revamped roster relatively free of injuries — it was poised to be a threat in the Big Ten. But as the COVID-19 pandemic kept most Maryland sports from picking back up, coach Sasho Cirovski’s squad had to wait for its chance to compete.
But their opportunity has finally arrived. Maryland soccer announced its season schedule Tuesday evening, featuring 10 conference matchups followed by a Big Ten Tournament.
“I’m excited to finally have a schedule in front of us,” Cirovski said in a department release. “I am appreciative of the work done by the Big Ten Conference, our Big Ten head coaches and our respective institutions to make this schedule a reality.”
The Terps’ slate consists of five home and five away games, with home-and-home series against Penn State and Rutgers. Only three of the team’s eight opponents were ranked at the end of the 2019 season.
Maryland opens its season on Feb. 19 with a road game at Penn State. The Terps lost that matchup in 2019, 3-2, letting a halftime lead slip in University Park. After that, Maryland has a seven-day break before its home opener against Ohio State. That fixture has been kind to Cirovski’s squad, which has won eight of its nine matches against the Buckeyes.
The schedule ramps up in March, with three games between March 3 and 11. The Terps will square off against Rutgers and Michigan either side of a home game against Wisconsin.
Maryland has another weeklong break before its four games in 13 days at the end of March. The Terps will host Michigan State and Rutgers, before heading to Northwestern and then returning to Ludwig Field for the reverse fixture against Penn State.
The Terps and the Hoosiers will rekindle Big Ten men’s soccer’s biggest rivalry on April 4. In 2019, Maryland beat Indiana in College Park during the regular season before Indiana struck back, knocking Maryland out of the Big Ten tournament.
The NCAA announced in the fall that the men’s soccer tournament will consist of fewer teams than in years past, shrinking the field from 48 to 36 squads. The College Cup is currently set for May 13-17 in Cary, North Carolina.
“My players have done everything we’ve asked of them and more since we started preparations for a season in August and I am thrilled they will be able to show off their hard work and dedication this spring,” Cirovski said in the release.