Down one goal early in the second half, Maryland women’s soccer was desperate to get back into the match. The only issue: the team couldn’t seem to get the ball from Ohio State. The Buckeyes, not content with their lead, were pressing. Hard.
As the chances mounted, the Buckeyes put together a wild offensive possession in the hunt of their third goal.
Ohio State’s freshman midfielder Peyton McNamara, in the midst of the best game of her young career, was the instigator, creating chaos as the Terps attempted to put forth everything they had defensively. The Buckeyes got off one, then two, then three shot attempts, each barely batted away by a Maryland defender.
McNamara ended up with the ball, but a slide tackle by Maryland defender Adalee Broadbent sent the ball out of bounds for a corner kick.
Freshman midfielder Kine Flotre booted the corner kick into the scrum, but the kick curled past the Buckeyes attackers looking for a header. In fact, Flotre’s kick curled past every player and went untouched into the goal.
For the first time this season, the Terps found themselves in a two-goal deficit, which they never overcame in the 3-1 loss to the Buckeyes Thursday afternoon.
“They’re giving a lot of effort,” said head coach Ray Leone. It’s just not good enough just yet.”
After having its best season since joining the Big Ten last season, Leone’s squad seemed poised to make some noise in the conference this season. Maryland (0-3-1) came into the match looking to notch its first victory of the year to keep those hopes alive, but instead, the group remains winless with just seven opportunities left this season.
The Buckeyes had control of the match from the start. At the eight minute mark, Ohio State freshman midfielder Peyton McNamara made a beautiful first touch off a misplaced pass from Sydney Staier. McNamara turned a corner and strode toward the goal.
The finish seemed almost too calm as McNamara strode through multiple Terps defenders with minimal resistance and slotted the ball past goalie Kennedy Tolson. Thus, in what seems to be a growing theme this season, the Terps found themselves in a hole early.
“We just have to find the right chemistry to find a way to get the ball in the back of the net,” Leone said. “Because we can’t start every game down a goal.”
Maryland’s early offense wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t enough either. Against a team like Ohio State, chock full of dangerous forwards and midfielders who are ready to spur a counterattack at any moment, the Terps needed to be decisive. Instead, they seemed unsure of themselves, passing back and forth with no clear objective, and Ohio State’s star defender Izzy Rodriguez took advantage, stopping multiple Maryland advances in their tracks.
It was an easy first twenty minutes for Ohio State goalkeeper Bailey Kolinski mainly due to Rodriguez’s efforts. The Terps only attempted one shot, courtesy of forward Keyera Wynn, which sailed harmlessly beyond the goal.
Down 1-0, Maryland needed something to change, and fast.
And then Zora Jackson, a freshman forward, was subbed in for Wynn.
Soon after subbing in, Jackson received a through ball. Some shifty movement from Maryland forward Mikayla Dayes allowed Jackson to roll past her defender on the right side and towards the corner of the field. As the defender closed on her, Jackson hit the floor, propelling the ball up and across the goal.
Staier was in the perfect place to receive the ball. She took a hop and a kick and pushed the ball past Ohio State goalkeeper Bailey Kolinski.
When the team realized they had scored, players all ran towards the star of the play. Even Staier, the goalscorer, turned and made a beeline straight for Jackson. The Terps bear-hugged their freshman teammate, and the game was all knotted up at 1-1 at the 30th minute.
Staier’s goal was the first of her Maryland career. As a senior, she talked about her relief to finally get one in the back of the net.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Staier said, “I’m a little upset we didn’t get the result, but it feels good to get on the board.”
By the 31st minute, the game was no longer tied.
The goal-scorer was McNamara once again. A quick shot from deep outside caught Tolson off-guard. The shot wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. McNamara, goalless coming into the match, had found the first two goals of her career to put her team in the lead.
Both teams had what Big Ten Network announcer Ben Curtis referred to as “nervy” moments during the rest of the first half: good chances that were booted away at the final moment.
Despite the aggressive offense, the pace slowed down near the end of the first half and tired legs on both sides were unable to make any change in the score before halftime.
With the start of the second half came fresher legs. The teams combined for three shots in the first five minutes of the half, including a dangerous bullet from Alyssa Poarch that just missed the right side of the goal. Maryland only produced two shots on goal throughout the afternoon, one of which resulted in the goal.
At the 57 minute mark, Flotre’s corner kick doubled the Terps’ deficit.
Ohio State continued to be the aggressors during the final third of the game. Leone, desperate for a change, subbed out the starting duo of Alyssa Poarch and Mikayla Dayes, but it didn’t help.
Ohio State’s defense controlled the rest of the game. Maryland continued to throw everything it had at the Buckeyes, but another real scoring chance never materialized for the Terps, and when the final whistle blew, it was another crushing defeat for a team that can’t seem to put it all together.
Three Things to Know
1. Maryland was unable to break from tradition. In eight games against Ohio State, the Terps remain winless. The all-time record for Maryland against the Buckeyes now stands at 0-6-2. This can be seen as more of a testament to the Buckeyes’ dominance than anything against the Terps, but it still remains a point of frustration for Leone.
“It sucks,” said Leone. Blunt and to the point.
2. Maryland’s freshmen were outplayed. Once again, this is less of a statement against Maryland and more of a recognition of Ohio State’s dominance. Outside of Jackson, Maryland’s youngsters failed to make an impact on the game. Catherine DeRosa and Milan Pierre-Jerome, the two freshmen that Leone regularly relies on, combined for one shot in only 67 combined minutes of action.
In goal, Tolson was removed at halftime for sophomore Nicole Kwoczka after allowing two goals.
In contrast, freshmen scored all three Buckeye goals. Peyton McNamara, Kine Flotre, and Emma Sears combined for nine shots and four shots on goal. At least for today, Ohio State’s future seemed a lot brighter than Maryland’s.
3. Maryland’s goalie battle continued. The Terps have struggled to find consistency in goal. Tolson looked pretty secure in the starting position before today. However, when she gave up two goals in the first half, she was subbed out at halftime for sophomore Nicole Kwoczka. Kwoczka wasn’t able to find much success either, giving up one goal and only saving one shot — the only save for either goalkeeper on the afternoon.