clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Maryland women’s soccer vs. Saint Joseph’s preview

The Terps have a great chance to improve to 5-1 and continue the program’s best start since 2017.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland women’s soccer hits the road for only the second time this season to take on the Saint Joseph’s Hawks in a Sunday matinee.

The Terps strung together a very strong performance against George Washington on Thursday. Trailing 1-0 in the 10th minute of the match, Maryland rattled off three straight unanswered goals to cap off a pretty complete performance in a 3-1 victory. Midfielder Hope Lewandowski and midfielder/defender Madison Oracion picked up their first goals of the season, while forward Emily McNesby’s team-leading second was the eventual game-winner.

Saint Joseph’s is the fourth and final Atlantic 10 opponent the Terps will face this season. Maryland has an opportunity to complete a sweep of the conference, already picking up victories over George Mason, Richmond and George Washington.

Sunday’s game is the first-ever meeting between the two schools and will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN+. Let’s take a look at how the Hawks will match up against Maryland.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks (0-4-1)

Spring 2021 record: 3-8-2 (2-5-1 Atlantic 10)

Head coach Jess Mannella is back for her 21st season leading the Saint Joseph’s women’s soccer program. Mannella’s best season came in 2016 when she was honored with Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year en route to securing the regular-season conference title. She has led the Hawks to 10 postseason appearances in her tenure. Before arriving at Saint Joseph’s, Mannella coached one year at Division II West Chester University. Including this season, Mannella has compiled a 175-185-43 career head coaching record.

In its most recent outing, Saint Joseph’s suffered a 3-0 loss to 20th-ranked Pittsburgh. The Hawks have yet to score a goal this season, getting outscored 14-0 over the course of five games. The team’s only result has been a 0-0 draw against Fairleigh Dickinson. In the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll, Saint Joseph’s was voted to finish eighth out of 14 teams.

Players to know

Katie Cappelletti, sophomore goalkeeper, No. 0 — Cappelletti has started all five games in net for the Hawks, allowing 1.66 goals on average. The DeWitt, New York product had a solid freshman campaign, earning Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week on March 8. Cappelletti was a great high school player, being named Second Team All-State as a senior and winning her respective league four times.

Izzy Greene, senior forward, No. 33 — One of the team captains for Saint Joseph’s this year, Greene put forth a phenomenal spring season. As a junior, she led the Hawks with four goals, nine points and 27 shots. While she has no goals to show for it so far, Greene leads the Hawks with six shots this season.

Morgan Bower, graduate student forward, No. 15 — Bower came into this season as arguably the most decorated player on Saint Joseph’s roster. Coming off her Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team freshman season in 201,8 Bower followed it up by leading the Hawks in goals in 2018 and earning Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team honors. Even though she slowed up a little bit the past couple of years, Bower is still a potent offensive threat. She had two goals in the spring, tied for second on the team.

Strength

None. Not to mean that this cannot change in future games, but it has been rough sledding through five games for the Hawks. At one point or another, the team needs to generate offense. The Hawks have had one scoreless draw this season to go with four blowout losses. The goalkeeping has been respectable so far, as the team’s 6.2 saves per game rank third in the conference.

Weakness

Scoring. Through five games, the Hawks have scored zero goals. The team has had major problems seeing any offensive output on the young season. Saint Joseph’s 34 shots are 12th in the Atlantic 10, while its 6.8 shots per game rank 13th. The good news for the Hawks is that it is still the non-conference portion of their schedule, so they can try to work out any kinks in their offense before Atlantic 10 play starts on September 19.

Three things to watch

1. Can the Terps win their first two road games for the first time since 2016? Ahead of conference play, it is important for Maryland to play well away from Ludwig Field, regardless of competition. The Terps have struggled out of the gates on the road the past few years. With a win against Saint Joseph’s, Maryland can improve to 2-0 in road games for the first time since 2016 when it defeated William & Mary and Pennsylvania.

2. Maryland has a chance to improve its finishing against Saint Joseph’s. It can be argued that the Terps have put together five complete offensive performances in five games this season. It can also be argued — that despite Maryland’s 11 goals and 2.20 goals per game — the Terps could score even more goals. Maryland hit the post several times in its game against George Mason and its 17.2 shots per game stand out immediately. Maryland head coach Ray Leone has been happy with his team’s offense but knows there is still room for improvement.

“Finishing,” Leone said on what the team needs to work on. “You know that final, final ball has got to get better and on our services we got to finish it through.”

3. Can Mikayla Dayes continue her strong play? The forward has been great for the Terps all season and has stepped up especially in the absence of forward Alyssa Poarch. Dayes put in a goal against Navy but may have played better in her last time out against George Washington. Dayes did not score against the Colonials but fired off eight shots, one of which was basically an assist to Lewandowski’s goal. She leads the Terps with 18 shots, half of which have been on goal.