Men’s Soccer: Northwestern’s season ends in heartbreaking 1-0 loss against Maryland in Big Ten Tournament


Daily file photo by Eugenia Cao

Freshman midfielder Jayvin Van Deventer dribbles the ball against Maryland in October. Van Deventer logged 58 minutes against the Terrapins in Northwestern’s 1-0 loss Friday.

Alex Cervantes, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Soccer

Northwestern entered Ludwig Field on Friday looking to replicate last year’s success against Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament.

But there was no fairytale upset in the cards this year, as the Wildcats’ 2022 campaign came to an end in a 1-0 defeat to the Terrapins. 

After securing postseason qualification by the narrowest of margins, coach Russell Payne and NU booked a first-round date with top-seeded Maryland. 

The Cats started on the front foot, with freshman midfielder Jason Gajadhar registering the first chance of the game. Gajadhar, who was named to the Big Ten’s All-Freshman team Friday, saw his shot saved by Terrapin goalkeeper Niklas Neumann in the ninth minute. 

Just three minutes later, graduate student midfielder Bardia Kimiavi cut back on his right foot and tried to curl a shot to the back post, but it was parried away by Neumann. 

Half an hour into the contest, misfortune struck NU. Maryland’s Joshua Bolma was fouled in the box and the hosts were awarded a penalty. Though graduate student Christian Garner leapt the opposite way, Malcolm Johnston’s ensuing attempt slammed off the crossbar as the Cats avoided calamity.

Despite a few quality chances in the opening frame, the pair of teams headed into the intermission scoreless. 

Out of the break, the Terrapins enjoyed the first great chance of the second half. A lengthy VAR check saw Maryland blessed with its second penalty kick of the game. This time around, the Terrapins tasked Bolma with the penalty-taking responsibilities. 

With the stadium on pins and needles, the referee blew his whistle and Bolma took a few paces left before trotting towards the ball. A hop, skip and a jump later, Garner laid comfortably in front of the goal holding the ball at his stomach. In miraculous fashion, Maryland had wasted not one but two penalty chances.

All momentum seemed to be in NU’s favor, thanks in large part to the efforts of Garner, who recorded six saves in the game. But it was the Terrapins who broke the deadlock with less than 15 minutes remaining.

After collecting a flicked on header, freshman forward Christopher Thaggard’s heavy touch was stolen and Maryland was on the counterattack. 

Six yellow jerseys sprinted at the retreating quintet in black. The ball was played out wide to Johnston who picked out a darting Colin Griffith in the center of the box. Garner’s diving effort to snag the cross was futile as the ball snuck into the side left netting of the goal, handing the Terrapins a 1-0 advantage.

Though the Cats threw the kitchen sink at Maryland in an effort to grab a late equalizer, the Terrapins held onto the lead — ending NU’s season. 

Payne’s second campaign with the Cats saw the team secure fewer positive results than his first, but the success of his freshmen, especially Gajadhar, and transfer players lays the groundwork for future success in Evanston.

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex

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