After going a month without a positive result, Maryland women’s soccer finally snapped a seven-game losing streak Thursday night with a 1-0 win at Indiana.
The Terps and Hoosiers, who sat at the bottom of the Big Ten table, battled to over 80 minutes of scoreless play before senior attacker Alina Stahl put the Terps up with an 85th-minute strike.
While the game was slow and evenly paced for much of the opening half, Maryland slowly put the pressure on to get a deserved three points.
Despite the win being irrelevant for the Terps in the standings with just one game left in the season, it was a key victory to boost morale and key in on head coach Meg Nemzer’s “1% better every day” philosophy.
Now, Maryland looks to end the season on a high note with a win against a struggling Purdue team on Sunday afternoon.
The last game of the Terps’ 2022 campaign is set for kickoff at 2 p.m and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
Purdue Boilermakers (3-10-3, 0-6-3 Big Ten)
2021 record: 15-4-3 (8-2 Big Ten)
The Boilermakers’ season has been a complete turnaround in the worst of ways.
Purdue has followed up one of its best years in program history — finishing second in the Big Ten and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament — with a frankly shocking year.
Despite returning 21 players and its top five goal scorers, Purdue’s year has gone almost straight downhill following an opening-day victory against then-No. 15 USC.
After that 3-0 upset, Purdue has notched just two wins while racking up an 0-6-3 record in the conference, which leaves it at second-to-last in the Big Ten headed into the season finale.
After dropping its first three Big Ten games, Purdue has improved slightly, drawing in half of its last six games, but hosting Maryland will be its last chance to grab a conference win after tallying eight last season.
Players to know
Sydney Duarte, graduate midfielder, No. 19 — A five-year starter, Duarte continues to be a steady presence in the Boilermakers midfield. She’s outdone her points total from last season in which she guided her team to massive success. Her two goals ranks third on the team and her four assists rank second.
Gracie Dunaway, sophomore forward, No. 2 — Following a breakout freshman year in which her playmaking ability set program records, Dunaway has taken the next step this year. Last season, her seven assists set the Purdue record for most helpers in a season by a freshman. This year, she’s led the attack with a team-leading six goals and 14 points.
Emily Mathews, junior midfielder, No. 10 — If Purdue finds the back of the net, there’s a good chance it will be set up by Mathews. Starting in all 16 games this season, she leads all players with six assists. Despite seeing a drop in goal-scoring from last season, she still provides danger from a playmaking aspect.
Experience. Purdue has over half of its starters, including its top-five goal scorers, return from a historic 2021 season. Despite the NCAA Tournament experience, the Boilermakers just haven’t been able to repeat their magic from last year. Ultimately, the returning pieces are still there, and they possess the quality to score in bunches.
Defensive inabilities. With its only shutout coming way back in August, Purdue hasn’t been able to keep the ball out of its net. Purdue’s 32 goals allowed are the second most in the Big Ten behind only Illinois, and it has have conceded at least two goals in each of its past five games. A Maryland offense that has struggled all season should get some chances against a back line that has given up 27 shots on goal in the past three contests.
Three things to watch
1. A new era sees its first chapter come to a close. When Nemzer took over, she spoke about her desire to bring a championship culture in the coming years to Maryland. While year one leaves a lot to be desired, strides were made, with the Terps winning their first conference game in three years and nearly exiting the nonconference slate undefeated. Against a Purdue side in poor form, the Terps have a real opportunity to end the season on a win streak and finish with three wins in the Big Ten.
2. A send-off to three “legends.” Nemzer was emotional last week when discussing the winding careers of the Dayes twins and Alyssa Poarch, mentioning the impact they had on not only Nemzer herself, but the program as a whole. She called each of them a “Maryland legend.” Sunday will wrap up the six-year tenures of the graduate students. Poarch has a goal and assist over her past two games while Malikae Dayes helped the Terps to a shutout in Thursday’s win at Indiana.
3. The home team has dominated this series. These teams have met six times before, with the Boilermakers holding a 4-2 advantage. Two of the three matchups in College Park were taken by the Terps, but the last three games have been played in West Lafayette, and Purdue has prevailed in each meeting. Can the Terps change the tide to end the year?