Maryland’s defense made it 450 minutes without surrendering a postseason goal and Amar Sedjic converted a penalty kick in the 57th minute to lead the Terps to a 1-0 win in the College Cup final at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, California on Sunday night.
In a battle of former Philadelphia Union U19 teammates Sebastian Elney and Morgan Hackworth, Elney ended up with college soccer’s biggest prize in his final college game. The forward from Boca Raton, Florida, who graduated from YSC Academy, started and played 57 minutes.
Hackworth, a Strath Haven High School grad, started and played 61 minutes in the match. A trio of former Reading United players were part of the runner up Zips. Ben Lundt started in goal and saved Sedjic’s second penalty attempt (one of his six saves on the night) while Marco Micaletto played 48 minutes off the bench and Ezana Kahsay played 22 minutes as a sub.
Sedjic, a Real Salt Lake Academy grad who trained with the Philadelphia Union during his spring break in 2017, was named the Most Outstanding Player in his final college game. D.C. United Academy grad Donovan Pines was again spectacular on the back line in front of Canadian youth international goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
The title is the fourth in program history and the third for head coach Sasho Cirovski, who last won it in 2008 with former Philadelphia Union players Zac MacMath and Matt Kassel on the team. Maurice Edu won a national title three years earlier with the Terps.
The journey was a bumpy one for the Terps, which went 10 straight games dating back to last season without a win before finally returning to the win column on September 10.
“This year we really set out and took on the hardest schedule we’ve ever had,” Cirovski said in the post-game news conference. “I wanted to harden this team. In all of the years that we’ve won championship, we’ve lost a game or two over the first weekends. It’s a good formula. I think I’m going to stick with it.”
Though the College Cup games were played in warmer weather than last year’s event at Talen Energy Stadium, the attendance saw a dip from 5,764 to 4,858 for the final and from 10,712 to 9,855 for both games. The travel distance for fans likely played a role in that as the closest school of the final four (Indiana) is still 2,100 miles away.