No. 7 Maryland men’s soccer is coming off two disappointing outcomes. The Terps tied both Northwestern and Wisconsin, both of which sit at the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
Maryland created countless opportunities in both matches, especially against Wisconsin.
The Terps squared off against the Badgers on Friday night in what should have been a relatively easy win for Maryland, but anything can happen in Big Ten play. Wisconsin got off to a hot start as it scored in the 12th minute, immediately putting the Terps in a hole.
Maryland dominated possession for the rest of the first half, but was unable to score despite a whopping seven shots on goal. The Terps found more luck in the second half as they found the back of the net twice, but Wisconsin countered with a goal of its own.
The match ended in a 2-2 tie, even though Maryland outshot the Badgers 17-6.
With their place at the top of the Big Ten dwindling, the Terps will look to regain their footing at home against High Point on Monday night. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and can be streamed in BTN Plus.
High Point Panthers (5-3-4, 3-0-2 Big South)
2021 record: 8-7-3 (5-0-3)
Head coach Zach Haines has achieved immense success since joining the program in 2019. He made history in his second season when he led the Panthers to their first Big South Tournament Championship. High Point went 12-2 during that season — 8-0 in conference play — and made an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In Haines’ third season, the Panthers made it to their third Big South Championship game and yet again went unbeaten in the conference with a 5-0-3 record.
High Point is having a much similar season this year in that they are mediocre in nonconference play, but dominate the Big South.
Players to watch
Holden Trent, redshirt senior goalkeeper, No. 1 — Trent has done a phenomenal job as the Panthers’ starting keeper over the last three seasons. He earned a spot on the Big South All-Conference first team in each of the last two seasons and won Big South Goalkeeper of the Year in 2021. This year, Trent ranks second in the Big South in goals against average (1.09) and shutouts (4).
Finn McRobb, junior defender, No. 6 — McRobb has been a stud since his freshman season. Through his first two years, McRobb raked in two Big South All-Conference first team selections and one freshman team selection. McRobb is known for his defense, but has provided some value on the offensive end as well with three career goals.
Noah Holmes, graduate forward, No. 24 — With the departure of forward MD Myers to Rutgers, the Panthers desperately needed someone to replace his production. Holmes has filled that role sufficiently as he leads the team in goals (5) and is High Point’s most dangerous offensive weapon.
Defense. Defense is consistently one of High Point’s biggest strengths. This season, the Panthers are have allowed the fewest goals in the Big South (12) and rank second in save percentage (.750). But with Maryland’s offense coming off an impressive performance, High Point’s defense will be put to the test.
Strength of schedule. While the Panthers often have winning records, the Big South provides an easier path than other conferences. High Point has played two nationally ranked teams this season, tying then-No. 2 Georgetown, 1-1, and losing to then-No. 19 UNCG, 5-1. Maryland is a certified title contender and will give the Panthers a challenge.
Three things to watch
1. Bolma is back. Prior to Friday night’s match, redshirt sophomore forward Joshua Bolma had not scored since Sept. 5 when the Terps played Virginia. Bolma’s scoring drought ended against Wisconsin as he connected on an 18-yarder from the edge of the box. If Bolma can play like his usual self, Maryland should be able to run away with this one.
“You can see he’s starting to get his body back and his legs back. He’s been beaten up all year,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “He was the best player on the field [Friday].”
2. Can the Terps score first? Playing from behind has been a common theme over the last few games for Maryland and its record reflects that. The Terps barely overcame Rutgers as they had to score three unanswered goals, but were not able to do the same against Northwestern and Wisconsin. With postseason play approaching, Maryland will need to be sharp for all 90 minutes.
“We can’t let teams get the first goal on us. That’s a pattern that I don’t like,” Cirovski said.
3. Maryland gets a break from Big Ten play. Monday marks the Terps’ first nonconference game in over two weeks, and it comes at a good time. Maryland just tied the bottom two teams in the Big Ten and is beginning to slow down. This intermission from the grind of conference play could give the Terps a much-needed boost heading into the final quarter of the regular season.