Maryland women’s soccer entered the second half of Thursday night’s game against No. 23 Wisconsin with a 1-0 lead, but for the third consecutive game, a second-half collapse proved costly for the Terps.
Already seeing positive results evaporate in late stages of Big Ten contests, head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer’s crew allowed two consecutive goals in the second half, eventually falling to the Badgers, 2-1.
The Terps have competed well with the nation’s best but are still seeking that consistent 90-minute display.
Sunday afternoon will be another immense challenge for Maryland, as it takes on Michigan State.
Maryland returns to Ludwig Field after a week on the road, and the Terps will look to get back in the win column and move themselves back into the middle of the Big Ten table.
The game is set for 1 p.m and will be available for streaming on Big Ten Plus.
Michigan State Spartans (8-1-3)
2021 record: 10-5-3 (5-4-1 Big Ten)
It’s been nothing short of a near-perfect start for the Spartans, cruising through one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
Coming off a shocking 2-1 win against No. 6 Penn State, Michigan State looks to have entered the race of conference contenders.
Lead by second-year head coach Jeff Hosler, the Spartans have completely turned around the program.
After a one-win campaign in 2020, Hosler took his group to their first conference tournament in nearly a decade. This year, they’ve looked remarkable, sitting unbeaten in Big Ten play with their only loss coming early in the year to No. 12 Arkansas.
Their 3-0-1 mark in conference play is the Spartans’ best start ever in the Big Ten.
“Our last win was great, but it’s about being better today. We just have to get right back to it. Maryland is a very good opponent. They are athletic, they play hard, they are well coached, and they get after it,” Hosler said in a release.
Players to know
Camryn Evans, graduate forward, No. 10 — The Michigan native is in her fifth season with the Spartans, and has found her scoring touch again from her great freshman season. Her six goals and 14 points lead the team, but she hasn’t found the back of the net in the team’s last four games. Nevertheless, she’s a dangerous player and is the biggest scoring threat to the Terps.
Lauren Kozal, senior goalkeeper, No. 00 — The reigning Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year has notched six shutouts so far this season and ranks third in the conference in saves and goals against average. She is coming off a heroic performance against Penn State, stalemating one of the country’s best attacks with seven stops.
Samantha White, graduate defender, No. 31 — The veteran center back has started every game in her career with the Spartans. She’s helped guide Michigan State to six clean sheets and is set to make program history Sunday. Barring any late setback, the fifth-year will be making her 80th start, a program record.
Sharing the love. Of its 27 goals scored, Michigan State has assists on 25, which is among the highest rates in the conference. Averaging over two assists a game, the Spartans have nearly double the number of assists on the season as the Terps have goals.
Slow first halves. This weakness might just become a strength when the final whistle blows Sunday afternoon. The Spartans have scored 12 goals in their past four games but have relied on second-half surges to secure the win. 10 of those dozen tallies came in the game’s latter half.
Three things to watch
1. Maryland must stop the bleeding. Currently at 1-3 in the Big Ten, the Terps are on a dangerous slide down to the bottom of the table. Despite playing good soccer of recent, the results aren't there to show for it. There’s no such thing as moral victories when you’re in the hunt for a conference tournament berth.
2. The Spartans are riding a six-game unbeaten streak. Michigan State comes into the matchup on fire, without a negative result since Sep. 8, when it fell to a ranked Arkansas squad. It’s taken down two ranked opponents in Penn State and Colorado in this stretch.
3. A historically competitive matchup. These teams have played to two wins each and three draws all-time. The incoming visitors took last year’s matchup by a score of 2-0. Interestingly enough, the three series’ ties have all come at Ludwig Field. Maryland leads the conference in draws this season, so if history means anything, look out for a tightly-contested matchup Sunday.