After dropping two straight to open the season the Maryland women's soccer team has responded as well as Coach Jonathan Morgan could have hoped - ringing up their second straight win edging NC State in a 2-1 game delayed nearly two hours by the threat of lightning.
The game got underway in a steady drizzle at 7:55 pm with the Terps taking the early possession and holding control for most of the game's first seven minutes patiently attempting to build an attack without any real success. After another six minutes of cautious play, Shade Pratt took a hard won ball down the left side and got off the game's first shot but the angle was too acute and it trickled harmlessly wide.
In the seventeenth minute, Maryland earned the game's first corner playing a short ball with a shot off the centering pass deflected high over the goal for an immediate second corner. The Terps again played the ball short but NC State's defense anticipated the pass resulting in the ball being played back to goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands.
Maryland continued to keep their substantial edge in possession and the pressure resulted in the game's first score in the twenty-third minute. The Terps built the attack down the left side and Aubrey Baker redirected a cross from Shannon Collins [Ed correction: - The official stat sheet at the game credited the assist to Collins but watching the replay I noted that the pass came from Baker,] that had drawn NC State goalkeeper Mackenzie Stelljes far off her line to Shade Pratt who finshed with the low drive and a 1-0 Terrapins lead.
Getting the lead didn't slow the Terps much as they continued to dominate possession and had another dangerous chance with Maisie McCune launching a rocket that Stelljes barely got a finger on as it caromed off the crossbar. Continuing to find opportunities, Maryland saw Shannon Collins' shot off a corner kick in the thirtieth minute go wide and and a free kick from 27 yards in the also flew wide right.
The Wolfpack finally built an offensive possession and threat late in the first half. A throw in from deep in the right side led to a high cross. Beanlands came out to about fifteen yards and failed to safely punch the ball clear resulting in State's first corner kick of the game. Maryland defended it well but NC State kept possession and Franziska Jaser drove a hard shot wide from about 35 yards.
As the possession went back to the Terrapins, they built another successful counter-attack again focusing on the left side of NC State's defense. Aubrey Baker was able to work free for a shot but Stelljes mad a wonderful diving save. NC State was able to work for another corner kick just before the half ended but it played out harmlessly and the Terps took their 1-0 lead into the break.
At the start of the second half, NC State opened as the aggressor developing an early opportunity but Maryland's defense held together well. However, the Wolfpack did equalize the score in the forty-eighth minute developing their attack down the left side after a Maryland turnover in the midfield with Kayla Saager finishing a give and go with Jenna Kalwa from about four yards.
The Terps nearly capitalized on a corner kick early in the fifty-seventh minute. Rather than playing the short ball, Shannon Collins curved her ball toward the goal. Stjelles was able to deflect the shot. Maryland never got a clean look at a second attempt and the Wolfpack cleared.
Maryland's go ahead goal was set up when Sarah Fitchner launched a rocket from about 30 yards that Stelljes barely tipped over the goal. Collins played her corner similarly to the one that Stelljes had saved a few minutes earlier. This time State' goalkeeper failed to handle it cleanly and Sarah Molina redirected her header from just in front of the goal for the score. The goal was Maryland's first of the season from a corner kick.
A somewhat desperate NC State squad dominated the time of possession over the game's final 25 minutes with Maryland relatively content to hunker down on defense and protect the one goal lead. The Terps made a pair of runs late but were whistled twice for offside. State had an opportunity in the eighty-ninth minute but Beanlands came well off her line and made a fairly easy save on a low shot. State made one more run with just over a minute remaining but was whistled for being offside.
The Terps were able to successfully run out the remainder of the game and come away with their second victory of the young season.
Maryland will be back in action Monday night the eighth of September as part of a doubleheader with the men's squad at Navy. Maryland's first home B1G game will follow on September 12 when Rutgers opens the Terps' inaugural Big Ten season.