The night was cool but the Terps were hot. After a tough overtime loss at Nebraska, the Maryland Terrapins returned to the friendly confines of Ludwig Field to face the Purdue Boilermakers in the first of back to back home games. Maryland's offense,which showed some signs of life by ending Iowa's string of four straight shutouts and then exploded for three goals in the game at Lincoln, continued at its new found pace picking up their third conference win defeating the Boilermakers 2-1
The night certainly didn't start auspiciously for the Terps. Purdue picked up a corner in the game's opening seconds and though the set play passed harmlessly away on a header that went well wide of the goal, a somewhat careless turnover in the midfield allowed Purdue to develop an attack down the right side and do to Maryland what the Terps did to the Cornhuskers last week - score in the third minute.
Maryland began to press forward and though they had a shot or two from distance, it was the Boilermakers who developed the next scoring threat. Maddy Williams, Purdue's leading scorer, got off a good look from about 22 yards. The shot challenged Terrapins' goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands but she made the save.
The shot seemed to give another burst of energy to the visitors who wrested the control that Maryland had begun to assert. The visitors had much the better of the run of play for the next fifteen or twenty minutes. However, the closing fifteen minutes belonged almost exclusively to the Terps who did everything but score. They ceded very little possession to the Boilermakers, attacked crisply, drew a foul just outside the box, earned a late corner kick, and overtook Purdue in shots attempted but failed to find a way to break through.
Failed to break through, that is until the closing minute. A Purdue foul on the left side about 25 yards out from goal gave the Terps one last chance on a set play. The serve from Shannon Collins skimmed over Purdue goalkeeper Jordan Ginther who may have been screened a bit by Gabby Galanti. A Boilermakers defender found herself sandwiched between Cory Ryan and Aubrey Baker and it was Baker who punched the bouncing ball into the net to get the equalizer for the Terps. It would be 1-1 at the break. "It was kind of a scramble in the box. I saw the ball and I saw the goal, too and I was thinking, 'I'm not going to miss this one and I put it in," Baker said.
The opening ten minutes of the second half was filled with opportunities for both teams. Maryland had a breakaway chance on a strong run by Shade Pratt who had Alex Doody open on her right. Doody couldn't quite control Pratt's pass and the chance fell by the wayside without a shot. The Boilermakers had a similar chance but their forward failed to get a foot on the attempted cross and a very dangerous situation turned quickly to dust.
An unusual situation arose beginning in the 52nd minute when the Boilermakers had a sequence of four consecutive corner kicks. One after another Holly Gregory made the serve for Purdue and one after another the Terrapins' defense prevented the goal but failed to clear. Perhaps the most dangerous moment of the sequence came on the fourth attempt as the ball seemed to be squeezed between 18 pairs of legs in a scrum that looked a bit more like youth soccer than college. Once again, Maryland escaped unscathed.
Maryland escaped unscathed again in the 78th minute after another turnover - one that came deep in their own half. On this occasion, it was goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands who kept the Boilermakers off the scoreboard with a sprawling one on one save on Makaela Nellams who had scored Purdue's first goal. Nicole Robertson's attempt on the rebound soared well over the goal. Natasha Ntone-Kouo, who would score the game winner, confirmed this, "Whenever she has a big save it motivates us to work harder for her. It brings our confidence up and gets us excited."
The Terps countered after the ensuing goal kick and developed a great opportunity in the 79th minute. Baker attacked down the left side and played a near perfect cross to Natasha Ntone-Kouo but Ginther made diving the save. The near miss energized the Terrapins even more and less than four minutes later, they would get the game winner.
This time it started with Sarah Fichtner attacking from the right side. Once again, Kouo was the recipient of of the cross coming from Amanda Gerlitz. Again, Ginther made the initial save but this time the forward picked up the rebound and netted the game winner. Describing the goal the sophomore forward said, "When Fichtner first crossed the ball in my thought was get on it. When I saw their keeper make the save, my second reaction was to see if she dropped it because she actually dropped it the first time. My instinct was to go for it and it went in."
The Terps return to the pitch on Sunday when they host the Indiana Hoosiers. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm.