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No. 8 Maryland men’s soccer ties Northwestern, 1-1

The Terps, still undefeated in conference play, move to 3-0-2 in the Big Ten.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

With each team’s goalkeepers playing perfectly, goals became a rarity for No. 8 Maryland men’s soccer and Northwestern.

The Wildcats struck first in the 61st minute as a messy corner kick left the ball right in front of the net. First-year forward Christopher Thaggard was able to box out Maryland sophomore defender William Kulvik and poke the ball in.

Now trailing, the Terps were energized and began to fire off shots at Northwestern goalkeeper Christian Garner. He was able to stop the first two, but junior forward Stefan Copetti got the better of him in the 74th minute.

Redshirt senior Nick Richardson threw the ball in and instantly got it back. With Copetti leaking into the box, Richardson bounced the ball into the goal area. Copetti had a defender on his back but was able to fight through the contact and head the ball over Garner’s head, tying the game at one apiece.

Despite Maryland dominating in shots, that was its lone goal in the game as it played to a 1-1 tie with the Wildcats in Evanston, Illinois on Sunday afternoon.

Northwestern started with the ball and got right to work. Thaggard collected a pass inside the box and drilled it towards the net. Sophomore defender William Kulvik then threw his body in front of Thaggard and stopped the ball from reaching senior goalkeeper Niklas Neumann.

The Terps’ first shot of the game came in the seventh minute when redshirt sophomore midfielder Joe Suchecki tapped the ball towards the center of the net. Northwestern graduate student goalkeeper Christian Garner was able to scoop the shot up with ease and send it the other way.

Sophomore midfielder Griffin Dillion got involved early, attempting two shots in the first 12 minutes. His first was blocked by Northwestern’s backline and the second just missed the crossbar as Maryland began to dominate the time of possession.

Neither team was able to create much offense through 20 minutes, but the Wildcats were knocking on the door. Northwestern passed the ball around the box before senior defender Jason Cyrus unloaded from 10 yards out. Neumann dove to his right and snatched the ball away from the net, keeping Maryland out of an early deficit.

The offensive struggles continued through the rest of the first half. One of the best opportunities of the match came in the 33rd minute when Northwestern sophomore defender Brandon Clagette had an open look at the net. However, Clagette did not turn his hips enough and sent the ball wide right.

The Terps were inches away from taking the lead in the 44th minute, but Garner made an incredible save. Redshirt sophomore Joshua Bolma lined up a corner kick and booted it toward the goal line. Kulvik redirected the ball back into the box before junior forward Stefan Copetti headed it towards the top of the net. Garner tracked the ball, jumped up and tapped it over the crossbar for the save.

This was the eighth and final shot of half for Maryland as neither team scored through the first 45 minutes.

The Terps were met with another great opportunity in the 50th minute, but Garner was there to make the stop. Copetti drove into the box and took a shot from only seven yards out. With little help from his teammates, Garner was forced to step up and make his third save of the day to keep Maryland out of the net.

The Wildcats’ offense returned the favor in the 61st minute. Northwestern graduate student Bardia Kimiavi charged into Maryland territory and delivered a crosser to sophomore midfielder Paul Son. His header was deflected by a slew of Maryland defenders as the ball was up for grabs. Thaggard positioned himself in front of the net and tapped it in for the first goal of the game.

This lit a fire under the Terps, however, as senior forward Hunter George stormed down the field. He fired a shot directly at Garner, who was able to corral it yet again.

Then, Copetti had a wide open shot on net. With nobody near him, Copetti took his time to line up the shot, and that’s when Garner charged at him. Copetti panicked and could not get the ball around the goalkeeper who picked up his fifth save of the game.

With under 20 minutes to play, the Terps broke through. Redshirt senior defender Nick Richardson drilled the ball into the goal area where Copetti muscled his way through Northwestern’s defense and tip the ball into the far corner of the goal.

It was the final goal of the game as the teams played to a draw, even though Maryland outshot Northwestern, 15-8.

The Terps will take the field again on Friday with a nationally televised home game against Wisconsin, which is 1-3 in Big Ten play.

Three things to know

1. Northwestern’s goalie Christian Garner was the best player on the field. The graduate student goalkeeper had struggled coming into this game, allowing the most goals in the Big Ten. Garner was possessed on Sunday, however, as he made impressive save after impressive save. There were multiple instances in which Maryland had an open shot on goal, but Garner was there to shoo the Terps away. He finished the match with six saves and is the primary reason why Maryland did not win.

2. The Terps missed Malcolm Johnston. Senior midfielder Malcolm Johnston suffered a concussion in the closing minutes of Maryland’s 3-2 win over Rutgers Tuesday. Johnston leads the team with five goals and has been a catalyst in the Terps’ offensive surge over the last few games. Without their captain on the field, Maryland looked lost at times, and it showed up on the box score.

3. Maryland surpasses its 2018 unbeaten streak. Before facing Northwestern on Sunday, the Terps were in the midst of a seven-game unbeaten streak. While Maryland did not come away with a win, it did not lose either, keeping its streak alive and helping the Terps surpass its 2018 record of seven straight games without a loss.