CHESTER, Pa. -- Soccer is a game of angles. Teammates must have the innate ability to read each other and predict where they are heading next and what they are thinking. It’s a game of patience and waiting on the perfect opportunity, or capitalizing on missed ones. It’s a balance of speed and off-speed.
That vision and insight is exactly what helped Maryland edge Virginia 2-1 on Friday in the second semifinal of the 2013 DI championship at PPL Park.Senior forward Patrick Mullins is in himself a phenom for the Terps, who scored both goals in the win. But he is very aware that his teammates are the ones who make him look good, who set him up to make his job easier.
“Both brilliant balls,” Mullins said. “Great vision from both [Mikias Eticha] and Tsubasa [Endoh] on the goals. As a forward, all you can do is make hard runs and hope the ball gets there. When you have great players feeding you the ball, more times than not, they’re going to get there. I got two great services, and I made sure to put them away.”
As modest as Mullins is, it cannot be denied that he’s a huge reason that the Terps have a chance to take home the program’s fourth national championship Sunday.
Throughout his career, the Terps are 32‐1‐5 in games when Mullins scores. Yet his humility and his dependence on the team make the Terps as a unit that much stronger..
“This team is one of the most connected teams I’ve ever coached,” Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “They love each other, they’re a bunch of gym rats and I know they didn’t want the season to end [Friday]. They love playing with each other. We’re delighted that we have a chance to play Sunday against a great Notre Dame team.”
Mullins leads the nation in total goals on the season, with 18 under his belt. He also moved to No. 2 on the Maryland all‐time goals list with 46 in his career. But don’t think that those individual accomplishments mean more than what the team as a whole has a chance to accomplish on Sunday in the championship matchup.
“Team accomplishments are way better,” Mullins said. “We’ve got 27 guys working here for the same common goal for the past year. It’s a lot of sweat, blood and tears all the way through.
“These guys are all my brothers, and making it this far is special. That’s why getting that team accolade that we hope we get on Sunday is going to be extra special because you know you’re with your brothers the whole time and we put the work in to get there. We just want to put our best foot forward and hope we get there on Sunday.”
Mullins has one more shot on Sunday to take home a team accolade that will mean much more to him than any individual award ever could. With his brothers on the field continuing to have his back as they have all season, that goal will definitely be within reach.