Down 1-0 heading into halftime, No. 7 Maryland men’s soccer needed to get on the scoreboard if it wanted to remain atop the Big Ten standings.
Junior forward Stefan Copetti answered the call in the 48th minute, but it was quickly followed by a Wisconsin goal to keep the Terps in a deficit.
Having not scored a goal in over five weeks, redshirt sophomore Joshua Bolma received a pass at the 18-yard box and fired away with intentions of evening the score. The ball snuck past junior goalkeeper Carter Abbott and into the back of the net.
As Abbott yelled at his defenders, Bolma celebrated with his teammates as the score was tied at two.
“I’m a player that needs to be scoring,” Bolma said. “It was definitely like a confidence boost for me.”
Neither team was able to score in the final 29 minutes as the match ended in a 2-2 draw, Maryland’s second tie in a row.
The Terps moved to 7-1-4 on the season, Wisconsin to 4-5-3.
“A very disappointing result on a night where I thought we might have been the sharpest we’ve been all year on the attack. We created more chances to score tonight than I think in any game this year, besides maybe the Virginia game,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We deserve better from our performance tonight than we got and that’s the harsh reality of soccer.”
A match between two of the Big Ten’s best defensive teams began as expected with neither team attempting a shot through the first eight minutes.
However, Maryland dominated possession early as Wisconsin could not seem to clear the ball.
In the ninth minute, Copetti received the ball in the box and booted it toward the goal. The Badgers blocked Copetti’s shot and began to move down the field.
Wisconsin’s first shot of the game was saved by senior goalkeeper Niklas Neumann, but Maryland was not so lucky on the Badgers’ second attempt.
With a corner kick incoming, Wisconsin senior defender Aron Eli Saevarsson redirected the ball to freshman defender Drew Brown’s chest. Brown was able to finish off the pass with a goal to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
Copetti continued to apply pressure on Wisconsin’s defense as he rattled off three shots in the span of eight minutes, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
His first was the closest, as Bolma found Copetti in the open field. With only Abbott in his way, Copetti tapped the ball toward the bottom left corner of the net. Abbott was able to slow the shot down just enough to allow graduate defender Matt Chandler to make a sliding save at the goal line.
Copetti’s next two shots were each saved by Abbott. The first was drilled toward the bottom left corner of the net and the second was a header that Abbott snatched out of the air.
Wisconsin attempted two more shots before halftime, but the Terps continued their aggression.
In the 37th minute, redshirt sophomore midfielder Joe Suchecki and graduate forward German Giammattei each had a crack at Abbott, but they too were stopped in their tracks. Abbott made two impressive diving saves as he continued to carry the Badgers’ defense on his back.
Bolma and Suchecki attempted two more shots in the final five minutes, however Abbott was there to make his fifth and sixth saves of the half.
Maryland outshot Wisconsin 9-5 in the opening 45 minutes, but came away scoreless.
Just over two minutes into the second half, the Terps finally broke through. On his fifth shot of the game, Copetti sandwiched the ball in between Abbott and the crossbar for a score. Bolma and junior defender Alex Nitzl were credited with assists as Maryland tied the game at one.
It did not take long for the Badgers to regain the lead, though. In the 56th minute, Wisconsin worked the ball around the box as Saevarsson dove towards the net. Junior forward Jack Finnegan dished the ball to Saevarsson, who finished off the play and promptly thrusted the Badgers back on top.
There seemed to be some confusion on the Terps’ end as the ball somehow snuck past Neumann and senior defender Chris Rindov into the goal.
The scorings spree continued in the 61st minute. It seemed as though the ball touched every Terp before reaching an uncontested Bolma at the edge of the box, who lined up his shot and delivered it with great precision toward the bottom left corner of the net to even the score at two.
That proved to be the finale of the second-half fireworks, as both teams were held scoreless from then on and played to a draw.
Three things to know
1. Copetti made the most of a rare start. The transfer forward got off to a slow start this season, as he had to prove himself to a new head coach and team. 12 games into the season, it’s safe to say that Copetti has made a positive impression. He started his second game of the season on Friday night and gave Maryland a much needed spark. Copetti finished the match with six shots — four of which were on target — and a goal.
“I got the start today, so obviously I have something to prove. I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. But I’m just doing my job as a striker, creating chances, getting in good areas, and I got a goal but I should’ve had more,” Copetti said.
2. The Terps’ offense was explosive. Despite not scoring in the first half, it seemed as though Maryland was on its way to victory with its seven shots on goal. Abbott was only able to hold the Terps off for so long before they began to tally up the goals. Maryland scored both of its goals in the second half and recorded a whopping 15 shots on the night. The Terps’ offense has struggled in recent outings, but Friday’s performance provides hope that trend that will cease to continue.
“We could’ve easily won the game by three, four goals,” Bolma said.
3. Maryland could not pull a win out for Cirovski. Cirovski celebrated his 60th birthday Friday night, but the Terps were unable to secure a birthday win for their leader. The 2-2 tie marks Maryland’s second draw in a row, coming against the bottom two teams in the Big Ten in Northwestern and Wisconsin. The Terps will have another chance to prove themselves on Monday night against High Point.
“That was probably one of our better performances in recent games, so obviously a little gutted to come out with a tie, but we got a quick turnaround — High Point on Monday. So, we’re looking forward to that game already and getting the [win],” Copetti said.