Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski was the first to acknowledge that his soccer team would require diverse contributions from Terrapins other than player of the year candidate Jason Garey to win the program's first national championship in 37 years.
Yesterday, in front of 2,173 in College Park, Cirovski received just what he and the top-seeded Terrapins needed to vanquish St. John's, 3-1, and advance to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals -- two well-struck goals by Stephen King, two splendid assists from Marc Burch, several outstanding saves by freshman Chris Seitz and, most dramatically, a Red Storm shot that hit the crossbar with the result still unresolved.
The Terrapins (17-4-1) earned a Saturday afternoon meeting at Ludwig Field with ninth-seeded Akron (18-1-3), which defeated No. 8 Connecticut on the road in penalty kicks following a 3-3 tie.
"We showed today that we have a lot more in our attack than getting goals from Jason Garey," Cirovski said. "In a game like this, you need your whole team to play well. . . . The second half, we took the game over."
King, the team's second-leading scorer, broke a 1-1 tie in the 63rd minute and, after the crossbar scare in the 81st, freshman Robbie Rogers sealed it with eight seconds remaining as Maryland ousted St. John's (11-6-5) from the tournament for the second straight year and became the first team to score three goals against the stingy Red Storm this season.
Maryland had gone ahead in the 12th minute on King's one-timer from 17 yards, set up nicely by Burch.
The Red Storm began to find a rhythm, however, testing Seitz regularly for the remainder of the first half. Seitz made an outstanding reflex save on Andre Schmid, but in the 20th minute, Matt Groenwald flicked Tony Beltran's cross to the far side for Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph's simple finish.
Seitz remained busy until the break, making outstanding saves on Alvarado-Ralph's header and Billy Hole's low bid.
Maryland regained its form in the second half, relentlessly pressuring 6-foot-7 goalkeeper Jason Landers before taking the lead on King's second strike, a 12-yard one-timer that Burch made possible with a left-side cross. It marked only the fourth time this year St. John's has yielded more than one goal in a game.
"Just like Jason, [King] is going to finish it, if you get it to him," said Burch, who scored the only goal in Maryland's 1-0 win over Brown on Tuesday. "I just slotted back and Stephen finished it -- perfect."
Against the run of play, the Red Storm nearly tied it when Schmid's short header struck the crossbar.
"We attacked extraordinarily well for most parts of the game and we created numerous chances," St. John's Coach Dave Masur said. "That created a situation where the game was a little bit more up and down and [had] a lot of excitement."
* NORTH CAROLINA 2, VIRGINIA 1: In Chapel Hill, N.C., Ben Hunter scored a pair of goals 1 minute 47 seconds apart in the second half as the fourth-seeded Tar Heels (17-3-3) defeated the No. 13 Cavaliers (12-5-3) to set up a quarterfinal against Southern Methodist, a 3-1 winner over host UNC Greensboro. Yannick Reyering scored a late goal for Virginia.