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Jonathan Morgan resigns as head coach of Maryland women's soccer

A national search for his replacement starts immediately.

Jonathan Morgan resigned as head coach of Maryland women's soccer on Tuesday.

"We will conduct a national search to find an outstanding coach who will lead our student-athletes and place us in a position to compete at the highest level," Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement.

Morgan took over for Brian Pensky, Maryland women's soccer's all-time winningest coach, in February of 2012. It took Pensky five years to get Maryland to a .500 record in either the regular season or conference play. Morgan will not get the opportunity to right the ship in what would have been his fifth season as head coach.

After resigning, Morgan said, "I would like to thank the University of Maryland for the opportunity to lead the women's soccer program the past four seasons...I am very fortunate to have worked with so many incredible young women. Their commitment to be the best on the field and in the classroom is so very appreciated. I look forward to watching their successes in all facets of life."

In Morgan's first season as head coach, Maryland started  No. 13 in the country and played its way into the top 10. However, the Terps took a step back in each of the next three seasons that followed.

2012: (14-7-2, 6-3-1) Maryland took second in the ACC and finished runner-up in the ACC Tournament. The Terps lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Denver, 3-2, in overtime.

2013: (10-10-0, 6-7-0) Maryland went one and done in the ACC Tournament and didn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

2014: (5-7-6, 3-5-5) Maryland went 0-3-4 over their last seven games and failed to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament after being picked to finish in the top five of the conference in the preseason.

2015: (6-12-1, 1-9-1) Maryland won only a single game in conference play and tied with Iowa for last place in the Big Ten.

Coaches are judged chiefly based on their results, and despite the team's effort on the pitch, Morgan failed to get wins when he needed them most. The Terrapins haven't won back-to-back conference games since Oct. 11, 2012, a span of more than three years.

Maryland's losses over the past two seasons were hard to watch. The losses were particularly agonizing because of how close the team was to winning games. The Terps went 0-6-7 in overtime games over the past two seasons and haven't won an overtime contest since September 12th, 2013.

I covered this team during the past two seasons, and I can honestly say that Maryland gave a tough and gritty effort almost every single time they stepped out onto the field. The Achilles heel of this team over the past two seasons was their inability to score goals and the results that followed probably led to Morgan's resignation.

The Terps were shut out nine times last year. They were shut out eight times this year. Maryland played 37 games over the past two seasons. They were shut out in nearly half of them. Maryland took 212 shots in 2015-2016. Only 17 of them found the back of the net. That equates to a shooting percentage of just eight percent.

Maryland's solid back line in each of the past two seasons was comprised of very talented upperclassmen, but oftentimes if Maryland's opponent scored even once, the Terrapins might not win the game.

"Luck hasn't been on our side," said record-setting senior goalie Rachelle Beanlands after Maryland was mathematically eliminated from the postseason this year.

Olivia Wagner, a senior captain on the 2012 NCAA Tournament team, said that she was very sad to hear that Morgan was resigning.

"He cared more about each of us as people," she said. "Personally, I've never wanted to win more for a coach than I did playing for Jon. He was constantly expecting nothing but the best from all of us because he never gave anything less."

Perhaps what is most disappointing about Morgan's resignation is that his tenure started with so much promise. There is no doubt that injuries and bad bounces played a factor in Maryland's disappointing past few years, but the Terps had an awful lot of talent and just didn't produce.

"Soccer is one of those games that can go either way every single time you step on the field," Wagner said.

Maryland is a great program for women's soccer, and plenty of top-flight candidates will want this job.

Anderson wants this program to be great both on the field and in the classroom, saying, "Our goal is to establish a winning culture and to continue to bring in and develop student-athletes who will strive for excellence on and off the field."