Terps' Holder Saves The Day
Thursday, November 29, 2007
For 110 frigid minutes last night, Thorne Holder shivered on the Ludwig Field sideline, waiting to see if his services would be needed during Maryland's second-round match against Loyola of Baltimore in the NCAA men's soccer tournament.
A freshman goalkeeper from the decidedly warmer island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Holder had lost the battle for the starting job to fellow rookie Will Swaim, but in a knockout competition in which a penalty kick tiebreaker would end or extend the season, Holder remained a key factor.
Unable to break down a Greyhounds defense that had not conceded a goal in five weeks, the Terrapins turned to their Caribbean teammate to secure the victory following a 0-0 tie and advance to the round of 16 for the sixth consecutive year.
After watching Swaim make two saves through regulation and overtime, Holder entered at the start of the tiebreaker and stopped two attempts. Maryland's shooters converted all but one shot, including Jeremy Hall's clincher in the fifth round, for a 4-2 decision. On Saturday at 6 p.m. the 13th-seeded Terps (10-5-5) will host Bradley, which upset No. 4 seed Indiana on penalty kicks following a 1-1 tie.
As penalty kicks approached in College Park, "I'm getting more anxious, the butterflies started coming up a bit, not too nervous, but excited because this is your moment," said Holder, who made most of his 10 previous appearances early in the season.
Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski had told the players early in the week that if the match did head to a tiebreaker, he would replace Swaim with Holder.
"He's pretty good at that stuff," said Cirovski, whose team has lost just once in the past 12 matches. "I'm extremely pleased that he came out and gave us a chance to win the game."
Regulation and overtime tested the Terrapins' patience. They outshot the Greyhounds 18-5 and had an 8-0 advantage on corner kicks, but only a few opportunities were truly dangerous. Loyola, which ended the year without allowing a goal in its final eight games, absorbed pressure and stayed composed throughout the evening, content to counterattack.
The best chances of the second half were Phil Bannister's 16-yard shot that forced a diving save by Swaim, and Stephen King's header that tested Milos Kocic. In overtime, Loyola (19-3-1) was unable to take advantage of a scramble in the penalty area.
"We were actually trying to raise the tempo and do some more attacking, but you could see toward the end that Loyola was quite happy to get the game into penalty kicks and take their chances there," Cirovski said.
Said Loyola Coach Mark Mettrick: "We realize -- we're realistic -- that we would spend a lot of time defending. . . . We showed a lot of courage, we showed a lot of bravery."
The Greyhounds led 2-1 after two rounds of the tiebreaker, thanks to Kocic's save on Graham Zusi, but King converted for Maryland and Holder dived left to punch away Camilo Correa's bid to tie it after three frames. Omar Gonzalez scored for Maryland and, after Holder lunged right to thwart Julian Cantillo, Hall ended it.
"We had full confidence in him," King said of Holder. "It wasn't a surprise."
Said Holder: "I haven't been playing, but I've been ready. Every player on the bench has to be ready for the opportunity to come on and contribute, so that was my opportunity."
¿ VIRGINIA TECH 3, CALIFORNIA 2: In Blacksburg, Va., Charlie Campbell had two second-half goals, including an 84th-minute strike that provided a two-goal lead, as the 11th-seeded Hokies (12-3-5) defeated the Bears (12-6-2).
¿ WEST VIRGINIA 1, VIRGINIA 0: Dan Stratford scored in the 50th minute to lead the 15th-seeded Mountaineers (14-5-2) past the visiting Cavaliers (12-8-2).