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Maryland women’s soccer draws with Indiana, 0-0

This was the Terps fifth tie this season and the last home game of the year.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Playing in front of its biggest home crowd this season, Maryland women’s soccer found itself in yet another scoreless overtime slugfest.

The Hoosiers almost won the game in the last minute of the first overtime, as goalkeeper Madeline Smith had to come out on forward Jordyn Levy’s free-kick from the midfield circle to make a play on the ball. After a collision with other players, Smith went down and the net was open. The ball trickled to the left side and was corralled by defender Megan Wampler. Wampler’s shot from the tough angle skied left of the net, though, and the first overtime came to a close seconds later.

Indiana limited Maryland for the majority of overtime, and the game came to a close at a 0-0 draw as the Terps’ home season wrapped up.

“It was their best game of year, against the opponent of that level,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said. “We came out flying and we did it the whole game.”

Sporting the Big Ten’s best defense, Indiana would establish the game’s slower tempo from the start.

It was not until the 13th minute when forward Anna Bennett had the game’s first shot on goal from a tough outside angle, but Maryland starting goalkeeper Liz Brucia prevented the laser of a shot from going in.

Despite Bennett’s chance being the only shot on goal in the first 25 minutes, Indiana earned a quartet of corners in the first half. Brucia made a great play on the third corner in the 22nd minute to knock away a service that had a chance of curving in.

The Terps nearly broke the seal in the 29th minute when forward Emily McNesby sent a cross that trickled through the Hoosiers’ defense. There to receive the pass was forward Toni Domingos, who fired from between the 18-yard and six-yard box. Her shot scooted left, but it set the tone for Maryland to have a better finish to the frame.

Midfielder Loren Sefcik had a nifty shot from about 10 yards in front of the midfield circle in the last 10 seconds of the half, forcing Indiana goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg to jump and make the save. The half ended scoreless with neither team able to get much going, but the Terps earned two corner kicks and three shots in the last 20 minutes of the period.

In what has been the norm for Maryland, Smith checked in to start the second half and relieved Brucia of her duties.

“Oh my goodness, they were absolutely remarkable,” Leone said on his goalkeepers. “The way they were coming off the line with the balls that were served in the box, the precision of their corner kicks was very dangerous. It was a spectacular tandem performance today from the goalkeepers.”

Maryland earned three corner kicks in the first nine minutes of the half, but it was never able to produce any shots off the opportunities.

Regardless, the pace of play opened up to begin the second half, a much different look from the slower first frame as each team was looking for the difference-maker.

Indiana nearly went in front in the 64th minute off a dangerous free-kick. From about 25 yards out, All-Big Ten defender Oliwia Wos let loose a shot that dinged off the left post and out of the danger zone for the Terps.

In the 77th minute, midfielder Alaina Kalin was handed a yellow card for a hard foul on forward Mikayla Dayes just outside of the 18-yard box. The card led to a free-kick for the Terps, and Mikayla’s twin sister, defender Malikae Dayes, rifled one that went right into the Hoosiers’ wall and out.

The free-kick ended up being the last real scoring chance for either time before regulation ended, and the score was 0-0 heading into the first overtime period.

“It means a lot,” defender Olivia Hicks said about the defense. “We did our job as a backline, we matched up which is something that we’ve definitely been practicing and working on, and we covered for each other. So we were just there all together to prevent as many shots as possible.”

Just over four minutes into overtime, defender Camille Hamm launched a deep ball from the right side of the field. While it did not seem like a real scoring chance at first, the ball kept drifting on target until Smith had to jump and deflect it over the crossbar for the save. Indiana had nothing going on the ensuing corner kick, and the game remained scoreless.

Wampler’s shot of the free-kick nearly gave the Hoosiers the victory before the first 100 minutes ticked down.

Indiana continued its strong play into the second overtime, generating three corner kicks in the first four minutes of the period. On the third, Smith secured the service, ending the Hoosiers’ threat for the time being.

“Getting them out, pushing everybody up,” Smith said on Maryland’s corner kick defense. “That’s what we were trying to do and, you know, not allow them to get a header inside the box.”

Continuing to dictate the tempo in the frame, Indiana earned its fourth corner kick of double overtime in the 106th minute. Again, it was Smith that came out to secure the ball before anything could happen.

Bennett blasted her sixth shot of the game on an Indiana free kick from about 25 yards out, but it was right at Smith as she secured the save.

In the final minute of the match, Domingos brought the ball deep into Indiana territory. As she entered by the near post the ball trickled around the goal line, but no one was there to put the ball in the net.

That was the last gasp for both teams, as neither side could get the chance it needed.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s offense struggled as it was without one of its most important players. Already without forward Alyssa Poarch for the rest of the season, the Terps’ offensive attack would be shorthanded. On Sunday, forward Kori Locksley was not dressed on the sideline ahead of kickoff and was not able to play. Locksley is currently top-two on the team in goals, assists and points. Against an Indiana defense that ranked top-15 in the nation as of Oct. 14 per, the loss of Locksley would make the task a lot tougher. The Terps only had two shots on goal in the entire game.

“I don’t know,” Leone said on Locksley’s status going forward. “Her health and safety’s number one.”

2. Sunday was a welcomed change of pace on the defensive side for the Terps. In the past four games, the Terps’ defense has been battered by its opponents’ opportunities. Maryland has allowed 14 goals in the last four games, and more specifically, 10 goals in the last two. It cannot be completely to blame given the caliber of its opponents, but Maryland has to be pleased that its defense tightened up for a clean sheet after the past few outings.

“They were amazing,” Leone said. “The bend, don’t break kind of thing where they just held on.”

3. Overtime games are nothing new for Maryland. Sunday marked the fifth overtime game of the season for the Terps, the most the program has played since it played eight overtime games in 2018. Though they have failed to get the goal they needed, the Terps have kept fighting throughout overtime, taking all five matches to the 110-minute distance. Over 30% of Maryland’s contests have gone past regulation this season.

“You have no idea how hard its been for this group of women,” an emotional Leone said. “I can’t ask for anymore.”