BERKELEY -- Cal's historic season ended Saturday one game short of the College Cup, leaving players sprawled across Edwards Stadium on a frigid day of despair.
In a game the sixth-ranked Bears believed they would win, Maryland struck in the 86th minute to end Cal's hopes of playing in soccer's Final Four for the first time in the program's 107-year history.
Michael Sauers' 20-yard blast led the No. 4 Terrapins (16-3-5) to a 2-1 victory and trip to the national semifinals Friday in Philadelphia against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia.
"A ricochet here or there and we're heading to Philadelphia next week," Cal coach Kevin Grimes said.
The Bears (14-5-2) created a basket full of chances but failed to convert other than Stefano Bonomo's equalizer in the 50th minute. The Burlingame High alum scored moments after Maryland goalkeeper Zach Steffen blocked his first attempt on the goal line.
Bonomo almost scored again 10 minutes later when he collected a through ball from Alec Sundly in the box. Instead of quickly shooting, Bonomo had the presence to dribble around Steffen, who was caught out of position. However, his shot was blocked by a defender.
The Bears also had three good looks during a 14-minute stretch in the first half, including Zach Fuentes' open shot in the 19th minute that rattled off both goal posts before being cleared by Maryland.
"We had point-blank shots, balls cleared off line. It just didn't happen," Grimes said.
Maryland, the ACC regular-season champion, avenged a 3-2 overtime loss at Cal in September.
Despite the defeat, the Bears felt good about the effort, particularly in shutting down Patrick Mullins, the country's leading scorer. Mullins had one big chance in the 84th minute on a breakaway but keeper Alex Mangels safely punched it away.
Boasting two of the best center backs in the country, Cal's defensive effort didn't surprise Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski.
"In the end, they all neutralized each other," he said of the Cal defenders and his forwards. "It is too much quality on both sides."
The Bear defenders -— Steven Birnbaum and Christian Dean -- are expected to be top picks in the Major League Soccer draft in January with Mullins.
Grimes, who has turned Cal into a soccer power in his 13 years in Berkeley, didn't want to think about the future Saturday.
"You did see history today -- and the whole season," he said. "Twelve games unbeaten streak to start season for the first time. Ranked No. 1 for six weeks for the first time. The highest seed ever in the tournament. Hosting a quarterfinal game, that never happened in Cal soccer.
"This was a season of the ages for this team and this program."