No. 8 Maryland men’s soccer will take on Delaware Tuesday night fresh off a massive win over Michigan State.
In the midst of a three-game winless streak, Friday night marked a do-or-die match for the Terps in pursuit of a conference title. If Maryland lost, its Big Ten fate would lay in the hands of its rivals, but if the Terps won, they would control their own destiny.
Maryland got on the board early as sophomore defender William Kulvik got his redemption. Kulvik scored an own goal against High Point just four days prior, which led to the Terps’ second loss of the season, 2-1. But, Kulvik more than made up for it in the 13th minute against the Spartans, as he finished off a corner kick for the only goal of the game.
Kulvik and his fellow defenders swarmed Michigan State’s attackers all night as they refused to give up a single shot for the first time in 16 years.
Maryland’s 1-0 win over the Spartans marked its eighth of the season, as the Terps will now take on a struggling Delaware team. The match will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and be streamed on BTN Plus.
Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens (3-9-2, 1-5-1 CAA)
2021 record: 2-12-1, 0-8
Head coach Tommy McMenemy is in his first season as head coach of the Blue Hens. McMenemy has Big Ten experience as he spent 10 years with Michigan prior to Delaware. During his years in Ann Arbor, McMenemy spent six seasons as an assistant coach and four as the associate head coach. He played an important role in the Wolverines winning their first conference title in program history in 2017 and helped Michigan earn four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Players to know
Aron Adalsteinsson, senior defender, No. 6 — Adalsteinsson was the only Blue Hen to earn an all-conference selection last year. He is a leader in the back line and has started in 26 of his 27 appearances while at Delaware. Adalsteinnsson has provided some unusual value on the offensive end this season as he leads the team in assists (2).
Sam Donnellan, freshman forward, No. 15 — Donnellan has taken the CAA by storm. The freshman’s leap to collegiate soccer has been seamless, as he ranks 17th in the nation in goals (8). Donnellan has yet to record an assist this season, so once he gets the ball the Terps should expect him to shoot.
Orri Thorhallsson, sophomore midfielder, No. 8 — Thorhallsson does a little bit of everything for the Blue Hens. He is second on the team in points (8) with three goals and two assists. As Delaware’s primary orchestrator, Maryland will need to keep an eye on him.
None. Delaware does not excel in any particular category. The Blue Hens are a poor defensive team, lack experience and often get into foul trouble. Perhaps the most positive aspect of their play is offense. Delaware ranks fifth in the CAA in goals (18), sixth in shot attempts (151) and seventh in points (49).
Defense. The Blue Hens are one of the worst defensive teams in the CAA. They rank last in goals allowed (28) and third to last in save percentage (.667). Maryland’s offense has struggled with its efficiency, so it will be interesting to see who gets the best of this matchup.
Three things to watch
1. Have the Terps found their defensive identity? Friday marked a historic night for Maryland, who held Michigan State to zero shot attempts. Despite this phenomenal performance, the Terps have lacked consistency and focus on the defensive end, often giving away goals to their opponents. The question: will Maryland’s defense continue its impressive play or revert back to its old ways?
2. Will Malcolm Johnston and German Giammattei return? Senior midfielder Malcolm Johnston and senior forward German Giammattei both missed the last two games due to injury. Johnston was in concussion protocol and is now dealing with a knee injury, while Giammattei is recovering from a lower-body injury. Both players are set to make their return on Tuesday, and Maryland will need them with its offense struggling to score.
3. Can Maryland remain focused with a big match ahead? Thanks to the win over Michigan State, the Terps control their Big Ten destiny. Whether or not Maryland wins the Big Ten regular season title will come down to its match against Indiana on Sunday. With this pivotal game on the horizon, head coach Sasho Cirovski will have to make sure the Terps’ focus remains on Delaware.