Maryland women’s soccer kicks off its 2022 campaign Thursday evening in Philadelphia with a showdown against the Temple Owls.
Behind new head coach Meg Ryan Nemzer, the Terps are bringing a newly-built team and staff to face off against Temple. Maryland looks to start a new era of the program in a winning direction.
“I think what you’ll see is a team that is more disciplined defensively, and more creative on the attacking side,” Nemzer said after practice Wednesday about what to expect from the Terps this season.
The Terps and Owls have faced off seven times before, with each team holding a record of 3-3-1. In the first half of their home-and-home last season, Maryland came out victorious — in dominant fashion — with a 3-0 win.
The matchup is the first of seven nonconference games to start the season for Nemzer’s crew.
The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with kickoff set for 7 p.m at the Temple Sports Complex.
2021 record: 5-8-3 (2-6-0 American)
Unlike Maryland’s squad, all but six of Temple’s players are returning from their 2021 campaigns. Under third-year coach Nick Bochette, Temple is looking to field its first winning-season since 2015. Bochette’s tenure has been up and down, with the team playing just under .500 soccer over the past two seasons.
When asked about any possible challenges about playing against a squad that has experienced together versus her almost newly formed team, Nemzer said, “...really more so focusing on us and making sure that we play our type of of soccer this year.”
The Owls were ranked seventh out of nine teams in the American Athletic Conference’s preseason poll, released Tuesday afternoon.
Players to know
Kamryn Stablein, graduate goalkeeper, No. 43 — Entering her third season with the Owls, Stablein truly is the backbone of this squad. A team captain, she led the conference in shots faced, saves and saves per game. She has been named AAC Goalkeeper of the Week four times.
“I truly believe that [Stablein] is among the more complete goalkeepers anywhere in the country,” Bochette said last season.
Emily Kavanaugh, senior forward, No. 21 — A 2021 First Team All-Conference member, Kavanaugh was only the second Owl ever to receive the honor. She netted seven goals last season, which was good enough for first on the team and fourth in the conference. She will lead the attack yet again in her third season with the team.
Moa Andersson, sophomore midfielder, No. 7 — Andersson was a pleasant surprise for Temple last season, breaking into the starting 11 as a freshman and being the team’s most consistent midfielder. She started in 14 games, logging over 1,200 minutes of game time to lead all freshmen. The Swede’s impressive debut season notched her a spot in the American Athletic Conference’s All-Rookie team.
Experience. Twenty-one players on Temple’s 27-woman roster return from last season. With a starting 11 expected to stay mostly intact, this team will be able play with a continued sense of similarity.
“We can’t wait to have a large core of this group back as we move forward,” Bochette said after last season’s finale.
It is now up to that core to turn experience into wins.
Consistent scoring. The Owls netted a measly 1.063 goals per game in 2021, a mark that was by far and away last in the conference. Additionally, they were shutout in seven of their 16 games. Taking Emily Kavanaugh and her seven goals out of the equation, goal scoring was a major issue for Temple. Without any notable additions to their attack, it will be fascinating to see how, or if, their offense improves this season.
Three things to watch
1. Maryland looks for an identical start to last season. Exactly one year ago from Friday, the Terps put on a clinic against Temple at Ludwig Field, defeating the Owls, 3-0. That was Maryland’s first win in nearly two calendar years. This time, the Terps hope to record their first win of many in Nemzer’s tenure.
2. The beginning of new times. Nemzer has essentially rebuilt an entire roster while still creating winning expectations. In the modern NCAA, that is an extremely difficult task to achieve. While Thursday’s result will not mean much in the long run, Maryland’s style of play will showcase an idea of what is to come.
3. Transfer impacts. Nemzer should provide more intel at her post-practice availability Wednesday afternoon, but West Virginia transfers like senior forward Alina Stahl and junior midfielder Juliana Lynch have generated buzz throughout the preseason. Expect them to headline a brand new attack and midfield, respectively.