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Maryland women’s soccer defeats Richmond, 2-1

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The Terps continue their momentum and start 3-0 for the first time since 2017

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Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Maryland women’s soccer was facing a tough path to earn its third straight result.

All of the sudden, the tide was changing for Maryland in the 74th minute. About five minutes after defender Adalee Broadbent tied it up for the Terps, another golden opportunity presented itself.

Forward Toni Domingos, going for an errant Richmond pass in the penalty box, was tripped up by goalkeeper Claire Hinkle. The play resulted in a foul in the box and an ensuing penalty kick for Maryland. Sophomore midfielder Catherine DeRosa stepped up to the plate, searching for her first career goal in Maryland’s biggest spot of the season. With confidence, DeRosa struck the ball into the right side of the net past a frozen Hinkle, putting the Terps in front for the first time all evening.

The goal finished a stunning turn of events for Maryland, giving it a 2-1 victory and extending its season-opening win streak to three games.

“They just dug down and were resilient tonight, so I’m really proud of their response,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said.

After the weather delayed the game for nearly an hour and a half, the Terps finally took the field to take on the Spiders.

Maryland welcomed back graduate student midfielder Hope Lewandowski back to its starting lineup. Lewandowski started all nine games for the Terps last season but missed the first two games of the season due to a lingering knee injury. Forward Keyera Wynn, who helped pace the Terps with two goals last season, also made her season debut against the Spiders.

With addition seemingly came subtraction for Maryland, as arguably its best player so far this season was not on the pitch. Forward Alyssa Poarch, who led the Terps with two goals and 11 shots coming into Thursday, left last Sunday’s match against George Mason in the 83rd minute with what appeared to be an injury. Maryland’s star did not appear at all against Richmond.

The Terps earned the first couple of shots in this one, one by forward Kori Locksley which was blocked and a long strike from midfielder Loren Sefcik over the net.

Despite that, it was Richmond that found the back of the net first.

A deep throw-in on the right side of Maryland territory bounced once and off the head of midfielder Gianna Lucchesi. Her header was placed beautifully to forward Jessie Prillaman right outside the six-yard box, who headed it herself up and over the leaping Maryland goaltender Liz Brucia. Just over seven minutes in, the Spiders grabbed a 1-0 lead over the Terps.

Maryland weathered the storm, responding with its first corner kick of the game in the 15th minute. The opportunity came after Domingos’ centering pass deflected off Richmond and past the goal line. However, the Terps were unable to generate anything on the chance.

Forward Mikayla Dayes tried to capitalize on the momentum about four minutes later, using multiple changes of direction to evade two Richmond defenders, but her shot went wide left of the net.

Orchestrating an answer for Richmond was forward Nora Santelli, who fired off two consecutive shots in the 21st minute. The first resulted in a nice diving save by Brucia while the second was blocked before it could reach the net.

The Spiders continued to frustrate the Terps, resulting in the game’s first discipline in the 29th minute. Locksley received a yellow card after colliding with a Richmond player, marking the second card handed out to the Terps this season.

Following the yellow card, there was only one shot the rest of the half, coming from forward Emily McNesby. Richmond goalkeeper Taylor Montague made her first save of the game on McNesby in the 43rd minute.

The first 45 minutes wrapped up with each team firing off five shots apiece, but Richmond led the Terps by a score of 1-0.

The Spiders began the second half with a goalkeeper change, inserting Claire Hinkle — game one’s starter — for Montague.

Not much was happening for either team in the early going of the half until the 55th minute. Maryland was playing stout defense, which led to a transition opportunity for Lewandowski. Lewandowski, who was playing in short stints in her return, blasted one towards the goal as she entered the 18-yard box, but Hinkle made a good diving stop.

“At first, I think we started a little bit slow, but we definitely came back from it,” Broadbent said about the defense. “We just needed to get some structure and, I guess, stay compact more. We were kind of leaving people, so the communication picked up in the second half, which was a great help.”

The Terps started to string together some offensive momentum but were still staring at a 1-0 deficit as the clock paused with exactly 25 minutes to play.

Richmond earned its first corner kick of the match just less than one minute later. The Spiders were not able to get off a shot on the opportunity but were still in control with time ticking.

That would soon change, as Broadbent stole a long pass from the Spiders just in front of midfield. The senior defender, who only had two prior goals in her career, took two touches and squared up to shoot from at least 30 yards out. Broadbent’s shot was a beauty, nicking off the crossbar and into the bottom of the net to even the score.

“It was just an awesome feeling,” Broadbent said. “I mean, I had a touch that was right in front of my feet and just launched it.”

Minutes later, DeRosa’s goal gave Maryland a lead it never relinquished.

“It feels amazing,” DeRosa said on her goal. “I think it feels better just to get the win as a team. We had a tough first half, so to come back from that is great.”

Just under five minutes later, Richmond found itself with a dangerous free-kick opportunity. Defender Caroline Lydecker fired one towards the net, but it was one bounce and an easy save for Brucia.

Controlling the game in its final minutes, the Terps earned their third corner kick of the night. While they did not score, it effectively kept the ball deep on Richmond’s side of the field.

Richmond had one final gasp with just over one minute to play. Off a cross, Lucchesi had a chance to even the game. She headed the ball just inches over the crossbar, and Richmond had no gas left in the tank after the sequence.

In a night where its offense was outshot by three shots, Maryland completed an unlikely comeback to continue its emphatic start to the season.

Three things to know

1. Maryland conceded a goal for the first time this season. After being thrust into the starting goalkeeper position against Temple last week, Georgia graduate transfer Liz Brucia has been flawless in net for the Terps. Brucia and Maryland’s defense — led by Malikae Dayes, Olivia Hicks, Adalee Broadbent and company — were riding a 187-minute streak without allowing the goal to Prillaman. Likewise, it was the first time all season where the Terps did not dominate the first half.

2. The Terps were without one of their star players. Alyssa Poarch has been Maryland’s superstar through two games, either leading the team or being tied for the lead in every single offensive statistic. Poarch has been the center of attention in opposing teams’ game plans, often drawing multiple defenders at once. The Terps were able to stage the epic comeback, but Poarch’s presence would be a fortunate return for them in upcoming games.

Per Coach Leone, it appeared Poarch’s absence was due to load management.

“Everybody is well-versed, they can step in whenever is needed,” Leone said. “This [season] is a long season. This season...we need to do load management and keep people fresh.”

3. Facing adversity for the first time all season, Maryland responded. Not seeing the stats from their first two offensive explosions, it was going to be an uphill battle for the Terps to respond from a one-goal deficit with just over 20 minutes to play. Despite that, Maryland found a way to win in a situation where hardship presented itself. Broadbent’s deep goal stunned Richmond and set the tone for Maryland to control the rest of the match. DeRosa’s goal off the penalty kick completed Maryland’s comeback and gave the program its first 3-0 start since 2017.

“This was the real first test for our team of adversity, play a team that hadn’t played in 10 days,” Leone said. “What are we going to do when we go down a goal? Well, we just showed it, so that was a great response.”