Dec. 4, 2010
Courtesy of Michigan Athletics
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Freshman midfielder Fabio Pereira’s (Sao Paulo, Brazil/South Kent School [Conn.]) goal at 103:18 clinched the No. 19-ranked University of Michigan men’s soccer team a berth into the NCAA College Cup (Dec. 10-12) in a 3-2 overtime win at No. 3 Maryland on Saturday (Dec. 4) at Ludwig Field. The Wolverines advance to the College Cup for the first time in program history.
Senior defenseman Jeffrey Quijano (Canoga Park, Calf./Canoga) and senior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) scored 10 minutes apart in the second half, but U-M relinquished a 2-1 lead following a Maryland goal in the 79th minute. However, the Wolverines improved to 5-0-3 on Pereira’s first career goal. Sophomore midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) made a run up the left side and into the box before feeding a pass to Pereira, who, as he was falling, slid the game-winner into the bottom right of the cage.
Freshman Soony Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) led the team in shots with five. Michigan received assists from Quijano, sophomore defenseman Kofi Opare (Niagara Falls, Ontario/St. Paul) and Hamoody Saad. Redshit junior goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) made seven saves and picked up his fifth career overtime win.
Michigan trailed 1-0 heading into halftime after a Maryland goal from Casey Townsend in the 17th minute.
U-M had a great opportunity to tie the game with a shot from Meram, who received the ball in the right corner from senior midfielder Alex Wood (Northville, Mich./Northville) and had a fantastic look at an open left corner of the goal, but his shot was sent just wide of the net.
Quijano evened the score in the 50th minute of action with his first goal of the season. The defensive stalwart an outstanding overlapping run from his left defender position to get into the offense and, after a shot was deflected off the head of Opare, the ball found its way onto Quijano’s foot for the equalizer just 4:31 into the second half. Exactly 10 minutes later, Meram extended his goal scoring streak to nine consecutive games with his 16 goal of the season, connecting on a well played ball out of the back from Quijano and placing it out of the reach of Maryland’s goalkeeper Zac McGrath for the 2-1 U-M lead.
Blais, who made five first-half saves, then came up with some highlight-reel saves, including stopping several point-blank shots in the Michigan box.
Michigan moves onto the College Cup for the first time in program history. The College Cup will be held Dec. 10-12 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Michigan will play in one of two national semifinals on Friday Dec. 10 and if the Wolverines advance they will move into the final on Dec. 12.