Facing a defense that had not allowed a goal on the season, Maryland women’s soccer’s offense would need to be its best to earn a result.
In the 21st minute with the ball inside Maryland’s 18-yard box, a plethora of Wake Forest players swarmed around the Terps’ defense. Forward Anna Carazza tried to clear the ball through the middle of the field, but a Wake Forest player jumped in front and blocked her attempt. The ball trickled to midfielder Lauren Tangney, who was wide open on the left side of the box. With one touch, Tangney blasted the ball with her left foot past Maryland goalkeeper Liz Brucia and directly into the middle of the net, giving the Demon Deacons the 1-0 lead.
Wake Forest would never look back from that point. Tangney’s goal was ultimately the game-winner, as the Demon Deacons closed out a 2-0 win.
“I think we learned a lot today and took, really, a giant step forward in our play,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said.
It took a little while for both teams to get going in the Sunday matinee, as the Demon Deacons were offsides twice in the first eight minutes and neither team registered a shot until the 16th minute.
The Terps earned the first corner kick of the match in the 11th minute, but midfielder Hope Lewandowski’s was driven right to forward Ryanne Brown, who cleared it from Wake Forest territory.
Lewandowski fouled midfielder Sofia Rossi right outside the 18-yard box, leading to a dangerous free kick from about 20 yards out for Wake Forest with just over 30 minutes to play in the half. Midfielder Sophie Faircloth’s attempt went off the wall, which was followed by a Rossi shot from distance that was blocked.
The teams continued to feel each other out, but the Demon Deacons were building momentum.
Tangney’s goal, the first of her career, put Wake Forest in front.
A major development occurred in the 22nd minute as midfielder/defender Madison Oracion went down. While it is tough to speculate exactly what happened, Oracion was down for a while, and the cart had to come out and bring her off the field. Forward Toni Domingos subbed in for her as the game continued.
Maryland earned its first shot attempt in the 28th minute, as forward Kori Locksley blasted one from distance, seemingly trying to chip it over Wake Forest goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks. The shot flew wide, though, as the Terps were still searching for a good scoring opportunity.
Wake Forest started to capitalize on its momentum from the first goal, earning consecutive corner kicks in the 31st minute. Rossi’s shot was blocked on the first, leading to the second. The Demon Deacons tried to create chaos on the second one by curving it on net, but Brucia came out and secured the ball.
Domingos, forward Mikayla Dayes and midfielder Catherine DeRosa each had shots for the Terps in the last five minutes of the half, but none of them were on net as the first frame ended.
The Demon Deacons held a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard, with both teams recording four shots apiece in the first half.
Just like he did last game against Penn, Leone substituted goalkeeper Madeline Smith for Brucia just before the second half.
Wake Forest’s lead was nearly doubled just two minutes into the half. Midfielder Nikayla Small blasted a shot from a tough angle just a few yards to the left of the 6-yard box. Small’s shot was on target, forcing Smith to dive, getting a hand on it as the ball deflected off the post and out.
Momentum continued to build for Wake Forest, earning the next six shots of the half. Smith made a great diving stop in the 53rd minute against forward Shayla Smart, but it was clear the Demon Deacons were dominating the second half early on.
In the 57th minute, Faircloth rifled a shot from up close on net. Smith laid out to make the save, pushing the ball out of bounds for a subsequent Wake Forest corner kick. The Demon Deacons did not score on the corner kick, but the ball was entrenched in that third of the field.
A response was orchestrated by the Terps with a corner kick just one minute later, but defender Zora Jackson’s shot off the set dribbled to the left of the goal.
Maryland earned another corner kick in the 65th minute, its third in eight minutes, as it tried to claw its way back in this one. Lewandowski’s service was solid, floating right into the middle of the box, but Parks was able to punch it away before the Terps could get a shot off.
“We’re playing into counter attacks,” Leone said. “...We’re doing well, you’re on the break and next thing you know you give it away and now you’re going the other direction. So we have to reduce that and make the other team kind of, you know, defend us a little bit more in a threatening way.”
The first discipline of the game was handed out in the 72nd minute. Small earned a yellow card for knocking down defender Malikae Dayes right by the Terps goal.
With only fifteen minutes to play, forward Hulda Arnarsdottir’s shot skied over the net, resulting in a goal kick for Smith. The Terps would need to generate something quickly with time winding down.
Small would not have the game’s only card, as Domingos was handed a yellow with about 12 minutes to play. Domingos tried to make a play on the ball but ended up undercutting defender Tyla Ochoa for her third card of the season.
Although the Terps were searching for the equalizer, it was Wake Forest that continued to control possession late in this one. Midfielder Malaika Menna blasted a shot from outside the box in the 86th minute, but Malikae Dayes came over for the block, continuing to play strong on defense.
The Demon Deacons put the finishing touches on just over one minute later, as Faircloth beat Jackson and accelerated into the 18-yard box. Faircloth kicked it past a helpless Smith to a wide open Menta, who tapped it in for the easy goal to double Wake Forest’s lead.
Maryland was unable to respond to Wake Forest all day, finishing with zero shots on goal. The Terps wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule with a record of 4-2-2.
Three things to know
1. Maryland got off to a slow start against the Demon Deacons. Fast starts for the Terps have been par for the course this season. However, this would not be the case against a pesky Wake Forest defense that had not allowed a goal yet this season heading into Sunday. Wake Forest did not necessarily dominate en route to its early lead, as its goal was its only shot on net all half. Maryland only had four shots in the first 45 minutes, though, with none of them being on goal.
“Great tactical movement of players,” Leone said on Wake Forest’s defense. “A lot of interchanging of different personnel, just within their starting 11. They were all moving all over the place, you had to really be on your game about reading the game.”
2. The injury bug continues to bite the Terps. Oracion, who has been a threat off the bench this season, did not return after exiting the game. The Terps continue to play shorthanded, as star defender Adalee Broadbent also did not play after exiting the Penn game with an injury. The Terps’ two leading goal scorers in forwards Emily McNesby and Alyssa Poarch also did not play again. The latter did not even make the trip, per the ACC Network broadcast. The week off between now and the Big Ten opener will be much needed for Maryland, as it tries to get healthier ahead of conference play.
3. Madeline Smith kept the game within reach for Maryland. Wake Forest came out blazing in the second half, peppering shots on the newly inserted Smith. Just like she did against Penn, the Omaha transfer looked extremely comfortable in net for the Terps. Smith made three impressive saves within the first 11 minutes of the half, allowing Maryland to hold out hope. Smith has been impressive for Maryland, allowing only one goal in her first 110 minutes of action.
“They both were fantastic,” Leone said on Brucia and Smith. “So that was a really strong point for us today...going forward in the Big Ten, you know you need top level goalkeeping, and we definitely got it from both of them today.”