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Alex Anthony's spot kick gives Terrapins 1-0 victory over Kent State

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Maryland women's soccer opened the 2015 athletic season with a well-earned 1-0 victory over Kent State, thanks to Alex Anthony's penalty kick in the 31st minute.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland opened the season Friday evening at Ludwig Field against the Kent State Golden Flashes of the Mid-American Conference. The Terps didn't get off to the best start, but dominated play in the later stages of the game, and the Golden Flashes rarely threatened to equalize.

First Half: Slow Start, Quick Recovery

The Terps came out in a 4-3-3 formation, with Gabby Galanti, Alex Anthony, and Natasha Ntone-Kouo playing up front as a 3-headed attack. It was Kent State, however, who came out on the front foot, taking the game's first shot in the 5th minute, but sending it wide, and forcing Maryland keeper Rachelle Beanlands to come off her line to collect dangerous balls. Forward Alex Anthony took the first of her game-high 9 shots within the first ten minutes, but that was about all the Terps could muster until halfway through the half.

Maryland eventually began to dominate possession, and tested the Golden Flashes' keeper twice in the 29th minute, but Ashleah McDonald was up to the task and kept the Terrapins off the scoresheet. She had no such luck in the 31st, when Gabby Galanti was brought down in the box and the referee awarded a penalty kick. Anthony stepped up and slotted it home into the left side, giving the Terps a 1-0 lead on their first converted penalty kick since 2011.

Kent State tried to get back into the game before half, and had a real opportunity in the 43rd minute, but their shot sailed high. A couple of other attacks were thwarted by offsides calls; one was stopped by Beanlands' lone save of the game, and neither the Golden Flashes nor the Terrapins, who earned a pair of late corners, could change the scoreline heading into the half.

Second Half: Showing Might

Maryland dominated the second half, preventing Kent State to get a single shot off in the entire second period. The Terrapins, meanwhile, racked up 9 shots, and once again it was Anthony who got the team's first shot, and took another within the same minute, but neither of her 55th minute attempts were on frame. Things got a bit chippy not much later, with Kent State's Jenna Hellstrom being shown a yellow card in the midst of a 5-minute span that had 3 whistles.

The game turned into a midfield battle at times, as both teams struggled to get any offense going. There were just two shots taken between the 56th and 75th minutes, but after that the Terps began to take advantage of the Golden Flashes sending numbers forward in an effort to find an equalizer. Shannon Collins took Maryland's 7th of 8 corner kicks in the 82nd minute and nearly scored directly from it, but instead hit the back post. Riley Barger had a chance off the rebound, but sent her shot high above the bar.

The Golden Flashes couldn't provide much resistance in the 2nd half, and the Terrapins took their first game rather comfortably by a final score of 1-0. Alex Anthony was a force to be reckoned with, leading all players in shots (9) and shots on goal (3), and scoring the game's only goal. Maryland outshot the visiting Kent State 16-5 and surrendered just 1 corner, with Rachelle Beanlands keeping a clean sheet while making just one save.

The Terrapins return to the field Sunday at 7 PM at home against Navy, who came from behind to beat UMBC 3-2 in their season opener tonight. The matchup will be available on BTN Plus.