CHESTER, PA — December 15, 2013 – In the wake of Maryland’s 2-1 defeat to Notre Dame in the final of the College Cup at PPL Park, Terrapins forward Patrick Mullins was brutally honest in his assessment of the play that led to his goal in the first half that put his side in the lead.
Alex Shinsky had a shot deflected off the line by Patrick Hodan, with some suggestions it had come off his hand, and from the rebound Mullins admitted to controlling the ball with his hand before lashing it home to give Maryland the lead.
“It was definitely a crazy play, with a lot of things happening in a short period of time,” Mullins told reporters after the game.
“From what I can remember, a cross came in, Shinsky hit a great shot, it hit the kid’s hand on the line and bounced out. It came back out, and I made a mistake on my part and I’m disappointed with myself for doing that.
“I hit it off my hand and luckily was able to put it in the net. That’s not who I am. All I can control is my actions, and I am not happy with my action in that play.
“It’s hard for me to swallow because I don’t think that’s the type of player I am or that type of person. I regret what happened.”
Maryland Head Coach Sasho Cirovski was quick to praise Mullins for his honesty and character after the incident, and admitted it affected him for the rest of the game.
“When I build my stadium, I’m going to build a bronze statue of that young man in front,” he said.
“He’s one of the best guys on Earth. It affected him, it affected him a lot after that moment. I think he tried to push through, and I think he did in true Patrick Mullins fashion, but it did affect him.
“He is as good as it gets. He is a very tough person as we’ve seen throughout the year. His conscience was hurt and he put too much on himself because many players have had intentional handballs in the game.
“It'll be a learning lesson for him but his character shining through is worthy of a championship. He’s a special person, he represents our program well.”
Cirovski spoke of his players’ disappointment at coming so close to winning the game but falling short, but is adamant that this year has been a great success for the program.
“We shoot for the stars every year, we aim high,” he added. “When you aim that high, when you don’t reach, you still end up on the moon, which is higher than most people.
“To lose today to a great Notre Dame team is no disgrace. There is heartache and disappointment in our locker room right now, but that will pass, and in true Maryland fashion we will be back.
“This will be a great memory for this team. Once they get past this, they’ll realise what they’ve accomplished this year.”
Chris Teale is a contributing writer for College Soccer News. He is reporting from the College Cup at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. He can be reached at Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @chris_teale