The Hoosier Network is on the scene this weekend in College Park, as Indiana Soccer faces the Terps Friday night at Ludwig Field, followed by Saturday's game at Capital One Field. Follow along @TheHoosierNet on Twitter and online at TheHoosierNetwork.com.
In College Park, they’re calling it “Beat Indiana” week. The two volleyball teams played Wednesday night, women’s soccer Thursday, men’s soccer Friday and football Saturday.
Only one of those sports has developed a rivalry since the Terps joined the Big Ten in 2014. The two men’s soccer programs have become some of the best in the country.
Last season, both made it to the College Cup, where Maryland knocked off Indiana in the semifinals and won the whole thing later that weekend.
“I’ll never forget what happened last year,” Indiana defender Jack Maher said. “That’s something that will stick with me for a very long time.”
Indiana has won the Big Ten regular season crown 15 times since the start of the conference in 1991, adding 13 Big Ten Tournament titles. The Hoosiers are coming off an undefeated 8-0-0 Big Ten season where they won both the regular season and tournament titles in 2018.
Meanwhile, Maryland has joined the conference and picked up right where it left off in the ACC, winning the Big Ten regular season title in 2014 and 2016 and the conference tournament in 2014 and 2015.
The easiest ways to form rivalries are to be successful and play each other often. Since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014, the Hoosiers and Terrapins have matched up nine times. Maryland has a solid 3-1-5 record against Indiana. The Hoosiers' lone win came last season at home, defeating Maryland 2-1 on a last-second goal from Andrew Gutman.
Rivalries need moments. Auburn/Alabama has so many, but most recently the kick-6. Indiana/Kentucky men's basketball is remembered for the Wat Shot. Duke/North Carolina has countless memories. For Indiana/Maryland, Gutman's incredible effort to score the game-winner against Maryland quickly became a memory Hoosier fans won't soon forget.
An established rivalry not only has to include lots of matchups and memories between the teams, but they must be competitive matches. Of the nine games between these two, only one ended in a two-goal spread: last year’s College Cup semifinal matchup. Five of the nine matches since 2014 have ended in draws, two of which went to penalty kicks in the Big Ten Tournament, each team winning one.
Most rivalries take years to develop. They need crops of good recruiting classes to come and go, competitive games over years and years of competition. This rivalry took just a few years to become fierce, competitive and important, not only on the conference level but nationally.
Maryland has reached the NCAA tournament 24 straight seasons. Indiana tops that with 32 straight tournament seasons. The Hoosiers are second in all of collegiate men’s soccer with eight national titles. Maryland has four after last year’s championship campaign.
It’s safe to say this week’s matchup is a big one. Since Maryland joined the Big Ten, one of these two teams have won the conference title three out of five years. Halfway through conference play, Maryland isn’t exactly in a place to win the Big Ten, but the Terrapins have a great opportunity this weekend to play a role in Indiana not winning.
"I do want them to enjoy that challenge of going there and playing," Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said. "But once the whistle blows... it's focusing on our details, doing well against what they do well and knowing that these points are as important as any."
Indiana sits atop the Big Ten table at 4-0-0, holding a two-point lead over a Penn State team Indiana already defeated 3-1. Michigan is the next closest, another opponent Indiana has taken care of. Safe to say those teams need help, and Maryland will look to serve as that help this weekend, knocking off their newfound Big Ten rival.
Last season these two teams met three times. Indiana won the first with last-second fireworks. The second was a draw, decided by penalty kicks in the Big Ten Tournament. The third was a dominating performance by Maryland in the College Cup, 2-0.
If history repeats itself, we will likely be blessed with another matchup between these two down the road. In 2014, 2015 and 2018, Maryland and Indiana met up in both the regular season and the conference tournament. The winner of the tournament matchup went on to the win the whole thing.
The new aspect this season is that Maryland will be the host of the 2019 Big Ten Tournament. Both Indiana and Maryland are known for their hostile environments, some of the best in college soccer. That’s something that Indiana has to be prepared for again this year, having never won at College Park since Maryland joined the Big Ten.
“I love when someone is chirping in my ear,” Indiana defender Spencer Glass said. “I think those environments are fun. The more the better, so bring it on.”
Indiana is the heavy favorite to win the conference’s regular season title as well as the Big Ten Tournament. But any road to a Big Ten championship will go straight through College Park.