However, after pulling off one of the most remarkable comebacks in NCAA tournament history to oust sixth-seeded Indiana in the quarterfinals a week earlier, the Red Storm ran out of miracles against the eventual 2008 National Champion Maryland in the College Cup National Semifinals at Pizza Hut Park, in Frisco, Texas last Friday.
St. John’s advanced to the College Cup by defying the odds, erasing a 2-0 deficit with just nine minutes left in regulation to defeat Indiana, 3-2, in overtime.
On Friday however, after battling the Terrapins through 90 minutes of regulation time and one fifteen-minute overtime period, the Red Storm needed another overtime winner.
But, that goal instead came from Maryland’s senior midfielder Graham Zusi, who played hero by scoring both Maryland goals over the weekend to give the Terrapins their second national title in eight years (Maryland was last crowned as champions in 2002).
After St. John’s was whistled for a foul outside of the box, Zusi curled a free kick over a Red Storm wall and into the top left corner of the net 104:07 into the match, sending St. John’s home for the season while giving the Terrapins a double-overtime, 1-0 victory and a berth against ACC rival North Carolina in last Sunday’s national championship game.
Senior goalkeeper Neal Kitson was tested often by Maryland, which outshot St, John’s 19-3, including 12-1 in the second half. Kitson made nine saves, giving him 95 for the season, the most by a Red Storm goalkeeper since 1992.
St. John’s finished the season with 19-3-3. The 19 wins were the second most in school history.
Maryland meanwhile, may have caught a break by avoiding one ACC rival for another in the finals. Top-seeded Wake Forest entered Friday’s other semi-final match seemingly unbeatable at 21-1-1, getting to the College Cup after three straight shutout wins in which it outscored its opponents by a combined 13-0. But, the Demon Deacons were stunned by the 13th-seeded Tar Heels, 1-0.
Zusi then provided the championship goal on Sunday, scoring in the 66th minute, to give Maryland (22-3-0) a 1-0 win over North Carolina (15-8-1).