Maryland women’s soccer returns home for one game against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers Thursday evening.
“We really needed to have a good practice [Tuesday] and it was an excellent practice,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said. “So, I do feel positive that we get back out on Ludwig and we’ll start moving the ball better, better and start creating more valuable chances. But, the final week of the non-conference is going to be important to just get in a good flow, whatever the results are.”
The Terps left Philadelphia with a bit of a disappointment after Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Saint Joseph’s. Despite recording 19 shots, 11 of which were on goal, Maryland was unable to put one in the back of the net en route to the tie. Regardless, the Terps still picked up a result to cap off the four-point weekend.
Penn is the penultimate opponent on Maryland’s non-conference slate as the Terps are just about a week and a half away from conference play. Maryland holds a 2-1 all-time mark against the Quakers, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 3-1 Terps road win in August 2016.
Thursday’s match will kick off at 7 p.m. and air on BTN Plus. The Quakers are off to a great start and will be a tough opponent for the Terps.
Penn Quakers (2-1-1)
2019 record: 8-7-1 (2-5-0 Ivy League)
The Ivy League did not compete in 2020 or spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head coach Casey Brown is in her first season leading the Quakers after being hired in March 2020. Brown came from Holy Cross, where she was head coach from 2016-19. Brown did a great job at Holy Cross, leading the Crusaders to its best season in almost 20 years. Her efforts earned her recognition as the 2019 Patriot League Coach of the Year. Before getting into coaching, Brown was a decorated player at Boston University, being named an All-American and winning America East Defensive Player of the Year three times.
The Quakers are coming off their first defeat of the season, a 3-1 loss at Hofstra. Maryland and Penn have played two similar opponents, George Mason and Temple. The Terps defeated both teams, while the Quakers beat George Mason and drew with Temple. Penn was voted to finish seventh of eight teams in the Ivy League Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.
Players to know
Lauren Tueschl, sophomore midfielder, No. 3 — Considering this is her first year of collegiate competition because of the Ivy League’s decision last season, Teuschl is more of a freshman than a sophomore. Despite that, she is dominating her first season of college soccer. Teuschl is tied for the team lead with two goals while also leading the team with two assists. The Oakton, Virginia product has started every game this season.
Laurence Gladu, sophomore goalkeeper, No. 0 — Like Teuschl, Gladu is not a true sophomore as this is her first season of collegiate play. Gladu has started all four games in net for Penn, playing every single minute. The Canadian native has allowed five goals so far, good for 1.18 goals allowed on average. Gladu has 16 saves to pair with one shutout on the young season.
Sizzy Lawton, junior midfielder/forward, No. 3 — An honorable mention All-Ivy selection in 2019, Lawton has continued her strong play into her junior season. Through four games, Lawton is tied for the team lead with two assists while also leading the Quakers with 11 shots and six shots on goal. She put up three goals and one assist her freshman year en route to being honored by the conference.
Generating shots. The Quakers’ 60 shots total rank third in the Ivy League. That mark is enough for 15 shots per game, which provides plenty of opportunities to win as their record shows. In addition to Penn’s 60 shots, 33 of them have been on goal, the most in the entire Ivy League. Penn will have to go against a pesky Maryland defense that has only allowed 8.8 shots per game through six contests.
Staying disciplined. The Quakers have started their season on the right foot, so it is hard to find something they have not excelled at so far. However, Penn has been hit with five yellow cards in four games, a mark that paces the Ivy League. If the Terps can get Penn to pick up an early yellow card, they may be able to take advantage of a team or certain players that would be playing more cautious than usual. Maryland knows the danger of playing with fire, as forward Toni Domingos was ejected and suspended for one game after picking up her second yellow card late in Maryland’s 3-1 loss to Navy.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland’s defense continue its strong play against Penn? Through six games, Maryland’s defense has been excellent, and that may be an understatement. Led by goalkeeper Liz Brucia — in her first season with the program and as a full-time starter — the Terps have registered three shutouts in only six games. Defenders Adalee Broadbent and Olivia Hicks have led the new-look backline by playing every single minute this season, while Malikae Dayes is not far behind, playing the whole season except for 10 minutes. Consistency has helped Maryland’s defense turn into a major threat.
“Communication has been a big part of why we’re so strong this year,” Hicks said. “We’ve all done our parts and covered for each other and just picked up each role and when one is out of the picture, we always have someone behind us to step in... our chemistry is way better this year.”
2. The Terps can polish up some things before Big Ten play begins. Thursday’s matchup with Penn marks the start of the last weekend of non-conference play for the Terps. Not only are the Quakers the last home opponent on the eight-game slate for Maryland, but they are also the last non-power conference team it will play all season. Registering enough shots has not been a problem for Maryland — it averages 17.5 shots per game — but turning them into goals has been a lingering issue the past couple of weekends.
“We just need to stay calm, cool, collective throughout the entire match,” Broadbent said on what the team needs to improve on. “Complete our easy final-third passes, and, honestly, we just need to finish a little bit better, especially in the attacking third... those are some things we’ve been working on in practice and we will continue to work on in the games leading up to Big Ten.”
3. Who will be providing offense for the Terps? Maryland has dealt with some significant losses on the offensive side of the ball these past few games. Forward Alyssa Poarch — probably Maryland’s most electric offensive player who still leads the team with two goals — has not played since the second match of the season against George Mason. Forwards Emily McNesby and Kori Locksley and midfielder Hope Lewandowski also did not play in Maryland’s last match against George Washington. The four players have combined for six of the team’s 11 goals and are essential parts of the Maryland offense.
Fortunately for Maryland, forward Mikayla Dayes has stepped up massively. While she only has one goal on the season, her 23 shots and 12 shots on goal lead the team by quite a large margin. Dayes has attracted significant attention on offense and does so many positives for the team that are not recorded on the stat sheet.
“She’s hungry, you know, and we’re getting the ball a little further upfield, I think,” Leone said. “So remember last year, she was playing the same way, but we were so deep and so far from the goal, you know, [it] wasn’t like it was adding up. But, you know, now it’s kind of adding up where she’s getting the ball closer to the opponent’s goal.”