Maryland men’s soccer took care of business at home on Saturday, and on Sunday they were gifted with a couple of positive results. Maryland entered the weekend with a slim chance of staying in contention for there first Big Ten title. On Friday, the standings had Penn State in first with fifteen points, Ohio State with twelve, Michigan State with eleven, and then Maryland and Indiana tied with ten points. Winning the Big Ten title creates a significant advantage since it moves the semi-finals and finals of the Big Ten tournament to that campus.
Last weekend’s schedule was Ohio State at Maryland, Indiana at Wisconsin, Penn State at Northwestern, and Michigan at Michigan State. For the Terrapins to have a shot at winning the Big Ten title they would need to beat Ohio State first, and then hope for the three other teams in front of them to lose or draw. Maryland beat Ohio State 1-0 and you can read about it here for more information, but what else happened this weekend?
Indiana At Wisconsin
The Badgers came into the game with zero points in the Big Ten season, while Indiana had just been ranked number one overall two weeks. On paper this looked like an easy win for Indiana that would keep them in the hunt for the Big Ten title. Tanner Thompson scored his fifth goal of the season to put Indiana up 2-1 with less than half an hour remaining. Surely this would be the game winner, but less than ten minutes later Jacob Brindle leveled the game for Wisconsin at two. After two overtime periods, the game finished in a draw, and Indiana was eliminated from the title race.
Michigan At Michigan State
Michigan State came into their rivalry game in poor form having gone 0-1-2 after winning at Penn State in mid October. Since Michigan upset number six Notre Dame they had gone 2-2-1. Two weeks ago, I thought Michigan State had the best chance of winning the Big Ten but then they drew to Northwestern 1-1. Michigan grabbed an early lead, but Sparty answered with two goals before halftime to take a 2-1 lead into the break. Early in the second half, Michigan tied the game at 2-2, and then four minutes later, Colin McAtee scored his eighth goal of the season to put the Wolverines in front 3-2. This result held for the remainder of the game, and Michigan State became eliminated from the Big Ten title race, and is now level with Michigan at eleven points.
Penn State At Northwestern
This was the last game of the weekend, and the Big Ten finale for Penn State. It was also the most important game for Maryland. A win by the Nittany Lions would give them the Big Ten title, while a loss or draw would keep Maryland alive. The Terrapins hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 4-0 win in College Park. Speaking of that win, Penn State came to College Park with a 10-0-1 record, and since then they have gone 1-3-0.
Both teams notched a goal in the first half. Mikey Minutillo scored his sixth goal of the season for Penn State. After a scoreless second half the game went to overtime. Both teams had two shots in the first overtime, but neither team was able to finish the game. With one hundred seconds left in double overtime, Mike Roberge beat Andrew Wolverton for the game winner and a Northwestern win. A draw by Penn State would have clinched them at least a share of the Big Ten title, while the Northwestern win moves them into a tie at third place.
The Big Ten Standings now look as follows:
1) Penn State – 15pts
2) Maryland – 13pts
3) Northwestern – 12pts
4) Ohio State – 12pts
5) Indiana – 11pts
6) Michigan State – 11pts
7) Michigan – 11pts
8) Rutgers – 4pts
9) Wisconsin – 1pt
The Big Ten season concludes this Wednesday with everyone except Penn State playing. The Nittany Lions Big Ten season came to an end on Sunday at Northwestern and they will have to wait and see what happens before knowing their fate in the conference. Tiebreakers are done by head to head result, which could push Penn State to third place with a Maryland and Northwestern win. Here are Wednesday’s fixtures and the impact it could have on the standings.
Michigan State At Indiana – 6:00PM
Both teams are tied at eleven points and look as if they will be going on the road for the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Of course that could all change if one of them wins to grab all three points and they get some help in front. They are both eliminated from the Big Ten title, but gaining a home game in the quarterfinals will keep these two teams playing for something.
Ohio State At Michigan – 7:30PM
Michigan was able to stay alive for a home game by beating in-state rival Michigan State. A win over another rival would not only give them bragging rights, but would jump them into the top four. Ohio State lost to Penn State, so they cannot jump them in the standings with a win. But the full three points would secure them a home game in the quarterfinals.
Northwestern At Wisconsin – 8:00PM
Northwestern holds a tiebreaker over both Penn State and Maryland through their overtime wins against both teams. It is impossible for them to be tied with Maryland, but if they beat the last place Badgers then they will at least jump Penn State in the standings. Regardless of the outcome, Wisconsin will wear their away jerseys when they play Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament play-in game.
Maryland At Rutgers – 7:00PM
Terrapins leading goal scorer, Mael Corboz, returns to Rutgers with a shot at winning the Big Ten title. The formula is simple for Maryland, win and they are Big Ten champions. If they lose then they could drop quite a bit depending on what happens in the other games. There are four teams that could finish with more points than Maryland if the Terps lose at Rutgers.
After a slow start to the season, Maryland finds themselves with a chance to finish right where the experts predicted. The last time the Terps went on the road they won 2-1at Indiana, but that is also their only road win of the season. For the Big Ten title they will need to conquer their road demons again and beat fellow newcomer, Rutgers. On Friday, it looked like this scenario wouldn’t be possible, but thanks to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northwestern; the Terrapins have a chance to finish on top.