Hitting the road for the second time this season, Maryland women’s soccer had its hands full with Saint Joseph’s.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, defender Zora Jackson sprinted in from her left back position, seemingly out of nowhere, and all the way into the box. Temple goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti had kept the Hawks in it all game, making save after save. Cappelletti came out of net to challenge Jackson, diving for the ball and securing it, making sure the game went to overtime at the worst case for Saint Joseph’s.
Jackson’s chance was the last gasp for Maryland before regulation ended, and maybe the last great chance the Terps had all game in a 0-0 draw.
“To get four points in a weekend, that’s a good thing,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said. “Everybody on the team knows we could have done better today, but you get a point, then you move on, and then you try to improve next week.”
An overcast day in Philadelphia, Sunday’s match got off to a slow start, with neither team recording a shot until midfielder Catherine DeRosa’s deep attempt in the seventh minute.
Saint Joseph’s was using high pressure to create turnovers and attempted to keep the ball deep in Maryland territory but still were without a shot in the first 15 minutes. A transition opportunity for the Terps led to their first corner kick in the 14th minute, but nothing was able to come out of it.
Maryland had a great chance to strike first with a dangerous opportunity just under 20 minutes into the half. Keyera Wynn won a battle with a Saint Joseph’s defender, speeding towards the net. Wynn fired a cross to an in-stride Toni Domingos, who returned from her one-game red card suspension. Domingos headed the ball on net, and Cappelletti made a great diving save as she collided with the left post.
Entering the 30th minute, the Hawks were still without a shot as Maryland’s defense held strong.
That soon changed, as Saint Joseph’s earned a dangerous free-kick opportunity deep on Maryland’s side of the pitch. Midfielder Natalie Nevins got her head on it for the team’s first shot of the game, but it ultimately went wide of the post and goalkeeper Liz Brucia did not need to make a play on it.
Maryland soon responded with a couple of chances of its own, as forward Mikayla Dayes accelerated through the Saint Joseph’s defense and into the 18-yard box in the 35th minute. Dayes, attracting a ton of defensive attention, was tripped up, and the ball trickled over to midfielder Olivia Reese. Reese put two consecutive shots on net, but Cappelletti was in great position, making sparkling back-to-back saves.
The Terps finished a strong half — outshooting Saint Joseph’s, 9-2 — but were unable to put one into the back of the net as the game remained scoreless.
Just three minutes into the second half, Dayes settled and blasted a shot from near the 18-yard box. Dayes’ shot, her third of the game, went wide, but the senior forward continued to be the spark for Maryland’s offense as she has done all season.
With exactly 35 minutes to play, Saint Joseph’s had a golden look to strike first and earn its first goal of the season. Rachel Brown rifled off a shot on goal. Brucia made a gigantic jumping save, successfully getting the ball out of the 6-yard box, but it wasn’t too long before the Hawks had another chance.
“She’s just getting stronger and stronger and getting more chemistry with the backline,” Leone said on Brucia. “But, today was a big time challenge and she was up to it every step of the way...you can be disappointed in the result and still recognize a special, special performance and that’s what we got from Liz today.”
Just about one minute later, defender Erica Behr had a header off a set piece that went just wide of the net. The Hawks then earned their first corner kick in the 59th minute, resulting in midfielder Lauren Hatt’s shot that went inches high of the crossbar.
The game remained scoreless, but the Hawks were putting together opportunities to put themselves in a good position to score the first goal.
Maryland answered with a corner kick in the 65th minute, its second of the game and first of the second half. DeRosa’s service landed inside the box, but the other Terps could not make good contact with it, leading to an easy Hawks’ clear.
Saint Joseph’s leaked out in transition, leading to some chaos in Maryland’s 18-yard box. Brown had a shot on what appeared to be an open net, but defender Olivia Hicks came over and made a spectacular defensive save to get the ball out of the box and keep the game scoreless.
“Oh my goodness,” Leone said. “[Hicks] saved the game. She saved the game right there. I mean, that’s three points the other way if she doesn’t commit. That’s a great, great fight in her and that’ll definitely be highlighted throughout the week.”
With only 20 minutes to play in regulation, the two teams continued to go back and forth, as Saint Joseph’s emphatic second-half response — outshooting the Terps, 6-1 —made it anyone’s game.
Maryland almost went ahead by one with exactly 13 minutes left, but Cappelletti continued to play strong in net for the Hawks. Dayes and Domingos were playing a two-woman game inside the 18-yard box, mastering a give-and-go type of play. Domingos ripped a shot from close in, but Cappelletti made an outstanding save, getting a hand on it and tipping it out of bounds.
The save led to the Terps’ fourth corner of the match, but the Hawks’ defense was able to make yet another stop.
In the 82nd minute, Hicks sent in a beautiful pass to a sprinting Loren Sefcik as she entered the Hawks’ box. Sefcik put it on net, but Cappelletti did not have to move much, catching the ball and making her eighth save of the game.
Trying to get the game-winner before regulation ended, Maryland really started to take control of possession and continued to pour shots towards the net. Sefcik had a shot blocked while midfielder/defender Madison Oracion’s subsequent shot went wide in the 83rd minute.
In a last attempt to respond before a potential overtime, Saint Joseph’s earned a corner kick in the 87th minute. Nevins’ kick landed in the box, but Jackson won the battle and cleared the ball out of the zone.
Jackson’s chance was the last attempt for the Terps before the game headed to overtime.
About four minutes into the first overtime period, the Terps earned a corner kick. Midfielder Mori Sokoloff sent a low line drive into the box, but like earlier Maryland corners, nothing was generated from it.
A Zora Jackson handball led to a dangerous free-kick for the Hawks just two minutes later. Brucia jumped out and was able to secure the cross by Nevins before anything hectic happened in the box.
Midfielder Ashley Orendac and forward Izzy Greene had the last real scoring chances for either team in the first session, as shots from both went over the net in the last minute of the period.
The Terps started the second overtime with possession, as the rain started to come down in Philadelphia.
Under two minutes into the period, Dayes volleyed the ball to herself and sent it on net. Dayes’ fifth shot of the game was saved by Cappelletti, who made her remarkable 11th save of the match.
As the two teams had done all game, the Hawks responded in transition, earning a corner kick with six minutes to play. Greene’s shot went just wide of the goal, as the tensions remained high and the scoreboard remained scoreless.
The two teams battled until the final whistle, but neither team ended up getting the golden goal it needed as a hard-fought 110 minutes wrapped up.
“Saint Joe’s brought a lot of energy, they were fantastic today, their goalkeeper was awesome,” Leone said. “So, you got to give your hats off to them.”
Three things to know
1. Maryland had a strong first 45 minutes, despite being held without a goal. The Terps were held scoreless in the first frame for only the second time in six matches this season. Although Maryland could not get a goal in the half, it still had plenty of opportunities to finish. Reese’s consecutive great chances could have easily been goals while Domingos’ header was an extremely dangerous opportunity. The first 45 minutes gave the Terps a lot to build on in the second half, as the defense also stood strong, only allowing two shots. In addition to Maryland’s 9-2 first half shot advantage, the Terps had six shots on goal to the Hawks’ one.
2. The Terps’ depth at forward and midfielder was tested. For the fourth consecutive game, Maryland was without arguably its best offensive player in forward Alyssa Poarch. Additionally, forwards Kori Locksley and Emily McNesby, two focal points of the Maryland offense, did not see any playing time. Finally, Hope Lewandowski, who worked her way back from hip and knee injuries and scored her first goal against George Washington, also did not play against the Hawks. The quarter combined for six of the the Terps’ 11 goals heading into today, marking a pretty sizable absence for them.
“Every time you lose a player on your team, it just reduces the depth,” Leone said. “That’s another, I guess, positive we found a way to still manage to do something today without really, really special players. So hopefully they’ll be back soon, but we knew going into the game that was the way it was gonna be.”
3. This was Maryland’s first overtime game of the season. Aside from the Terps’ 2-1 win over Richmond on August 26, the team had yet to play a game that came down to the last minutes with the result still up in the air. Each of the other Maryland wins came by at least two goals, while the team’s only loss was by two. Overtime was definitely a gut-check for the shorthanded Terps, who had not played a game that needed extra time since their scoreless double-overtime draw against Rutgers on March 13.
“[We] obviously wanted the feel of exhilaration, but to play in a pressure overtime game was really good for our team,” Leone said. “I think they learned something today on how to play overtime a little bit better.”