With five minutes to go in Thursday’s season opener between Maryland women’s soccer and Temple, the Terps and Owls remained knotted at one goal apiece.
Graduate forward Kam Fisher came inches from having the debut one can only dream of, but Temple’s graduate goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein was able to somehow get a finger on her attempt at a game-winner and steer it wide — one of Stablein’s seven saves on the evening.
Maryland had 16 shots compared to Temple’s seven, but it never converted the go-ahead goal and tied Temple, 1-1, on Thursday night in Philadelphia. It was the first game of a new era, as head coach Meg Ryan Nemzer debuted on the sideline for the Terps.
Both teams came out on the prowl to start the fall season, pressing hard and registering a combined five fouls in the opening 12 minutes.
It was a Maryland-dominated game from the onset, with the Terps controlling the midfield and keeping possession in the Owls’ defensive third throughout the first half.
Maryland’s first real chance came in the 14th minute courtesy of junior midfielder Juliana Lynch, who was the best player on the field Thursday. The West Virginia transfer saw a 25-yard attempt from a set piece go just wide.
Her fellow former Mountaineer, senior forward Alina Stahl, was subbed off in favor of Fisher following the free kick.
Despite Maryland having the advantage to this point, Temple nearly broke through but was stopped by a heads-up play by senior goalkeeper Madeline Smith. It looked like Temple was set to have a look at an empty net with no Terp defenders in behind, but Smith decided to purposely take a handball on the edge of the 18-yard box in order to halt play and set up a free kick.
A yellow card was issued for the foul, but it kept the 0-0 score intact.
In the 30th minute, Maryland had three consecutive corner kicks — three of six in the half — but none of the deliveries off the foot of junior midfielder Catherine DeRosa led to a goal nor a high quality chance.
With just seconds remaining in the opening half, junior midfielder Sydney Urban tested her abilities with a daring strike from over 30 yards out. Against most goalkeepers, Urban’s wonder strike would have gone in, but Stablein managed to tip the ball just over the crossbar.
Even though the score was deadlocked at zero after the first 45 minutes, it felt like this newly-formed Terrapin squad was creeping toward a breakthrough.
The Terps started the second half similar to the first — weathering solo attacks from the Owls and maintaining sustained possession in Temple’s third.
With Maryland winning nearly every 50/50 ball, the field was slanted towards Stablein by the 55th minute.
The eighth corner of the night for the Terps ended up inches outside of the Temple net, but a gravity-defying bounce kept the ball off the line in front of a maze of bodies.
As seen so often in sports, not capitalizing on numerous opportunities can come back to haunt a team. In spite of getting dominated in possession and shots on goal, Temple took a prime chance and ran with it.
Following a corner kick, Temple’s most dangerous attacking option — senior forward Emily Kavanaugh — was able to head the ball into the top corner of the net for the go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute.
Any momentum generated by Temple dissipated in minutes, though, as Stahl evened the score back up at one in the 65th minute. Just over two minutes separated the goals, as graduate defender Amanda Schafer was able to find Stahl all alone in front, and the West Virginia transfer made no mistake sliding the ball past Stablein.
The game was completely opened up, as the physical and tightly-contested play of the first half was in the rear view.
By the 75th minute, the teams had a combined 13 shot attempts, compared to six total in the opening 45 minutes.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Terps found their play once again, forcing Temple to have to constantly shovel the ball out of its own box. Fortunately for Temple, Stablein came to its rescue yet again; the veteran keeper made a stellar save at the near post on Fisher in the 85th minute.
In the 88th minute, Maryland had a last-gasp chance to get the winner, but graduate forward Alyssa Poarch saw her look in on goal veer wide into the side netting. It proved to be the final meaningful chance of the game.
Once Thursday’s 90 minutes expired, the game was officially over. In April, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel eliminated overtime in both men’s and women’s soccer, meaning the Terps would not have a chance to salvage a win in Nemzer’s debut in extra time.
Three things to know
1. It was a disappointing result in the opening game of the Meghan Ryan Nemzer era. Maryland was the much better team tonight, but a failure to convert on numerous looks cost it two points Thursday night. Temple’s goalie Kamryn Stablein was superb, but the Terps have no one to blame but themselves for the result.
2. The West Virginia transfers were better than advertised. Offensively and defensively, Juliana Lynch was a thorn in the Owls’ side Thursday night. She was able to drive play from the midfield, take away possession and even register a few good looks on goal. And, Alina Stahl showed why she was on the All-Big 12 First Team in 2020-21, as she notched Maryland’s first goal of the season. Lynch and Stahl were two of 11 transfers that saw action Thursday evening.
3. Despite the goals, Maryland’s first half was much better than its second. The Terps were on the prowl from the opening minute of the first half, initiating a relentless press and keeping Temple from much possession in the attacking end. The score could have easily been 2-0 or 3-0, but a lack of familiarity up front showed, with many passes gone awry in the box. Additionally, Stablein’s play, highlighted by a stunning save on Urban to end the half, was excellent.