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Maryland women’s soccer vs. Pennsylvania preview

The Terps have drawn in both of their two games this season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

“If we weren’t creating opportunities, I would be worried. But we are...” Maryland women’s soccer head coach Meg Ryan Nemzer said after the team’s second consecutive 1-1 draw to begin the season.

Despite being the better team for large parts against both Temple last week and this past Thursday against Navy, Maryland has failed to convert on chance after chance.

The Midshipmen got ahead almost immediately, with junior midfielder Jenna Daunt sending the crowd into a frenzy just 67 seconds into the game.

The Terps struck back in the 12th minute though, with graduate forward Kam Fisher notching her first goal of the season. That would be all the goals for the game, despite the Terps hitting two posts and recording 18 shots during the 90 minutes.

With all that said, the Terps will once again go for their first win of the season Sunday evening against the University of Pennsylvania.

The Terps will be just three days removed from their tie against Navy when they face off against Penn and might be without starting graduate center back Christa Waterman, who left Thursday’s affair with an undisclosed injury.

The Quakers and Terps have faced off twice before, with their 2021 outing resulting in a 1-1 draw. Maryland won the only other matchup in the series in 2016, 3-1.

The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with kickoff set for 6 p.m at Rhodes Field in Philadelphia, PA.

Pennsylvania Quakers (0-0-1)

2021 record: 9-5-2 (3-4 Ivy League)

The Ivy League is one of the most competitive leagues in the nation, seeing three of its seven teams (Brown, Princeton, Harvard) clinch a spot in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Penn has finished in the middle of the pack for a few seasons now (5th, 6th, 1st, 5th) but is an experienced group that will not be an easy opponent for the Terps.

The Quakers began their 2022 campaign with a matchup versus Temple, just like Maryland, and saw the same result — a draw.

Despite finishing well above .500, head coach Casey Brown departed the program this past June after just one season in favor of Boston University, her alma mater.

Brown led the Quakers to a historic 9-1 record at home.

Taking over the program is Dr. Krissy Turner, who previously coached Monmouth in an ultra-successful tenure which saw her take the Hawks to NCAA College Cup Championship eight times.

Turner will look to use her experience and bring the Quakers back to the postseason for the first time since 2017.

Players to know

Sizzy Lawton, senior forward, No. 9 — Lawton is one of the Quakers’ most prolific options on attack. She recorded 13 points last season, which was good enough for second on the team. Coupled along with two game-winning goals last season, Lawton earned a selection to the All-Ivy second team. She is one of just six seniors on this year’s roster.

Laurence Gladu, junior goalkeeper, No. 0 — Gladu is coming off a clean sheet in Penn’s game against Temple this past Friday, stopping both shots she faced. Last season, she was statistically the best keeper in the conference. Leading the Ivy League with a 0.94 GAA and 79 saves, the five-foot-seven Canadien was outstanding. Additionally, she registered five shutouts and started all 16 games for the Quakers.

Emily Pringle, senior defender, No. 17 — Gladu was fortunate to have Pringle as the backbone of the defense in front of her, as Pringle started in all but one of Penn’s games — logging just under 1,400 minutes to lead the Quakers. Just like Lawton, Pringle’s efforts last season earned her All-Ivy League second team honors. The four-year starter is in her second year as a team captain, showing her leadership on and off the field.

Strength

Home-field advantage. The Quakers had nine wins last season — all of which came at home. It was a tale of two seasons for Penn, as they went 9-1 at home but 0-4-2 on the road. One of those results came of course at the hand of the Terps, who forced them to a 1-1 draw at Ludwig Field.

Even though Penn drew in its home opener this season against Temple, the result may be deceiving. The Quakers could have — and likely should have — won by multiple goals, but scarily similar to Maryland’s experience against the Owls, junior goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein was other-worldly, steering away all six shots from the Quakers. Penn nearly tripled Temple in shots and shots on goal.

Weakness

Brand new staff. Many may not consider this a weakness, as Penn’s new head coach in Turner brings extensive experience and one of the great resumes in the nation with her. What can be a cause for concern, though, is that most groups will often go through growing pains, and the 10 returning starters for the Quakers have now seen two completely new coaching staffs in back-to-back seasons.

Three things to know

1. These teams played to a thrilling draw last season. Last season’s matchup saw the action come to College Park, with two early goals being the only of the evening. Even as overtime was still an active rule last season, the game went the distance, with neither side being able to get ahead in the end.

2. Will Maryland finally be able to get ahead? In both games to start the season, Meg Ryan Nemzer has seen her team concede first, respond emphatically and ultimately draw. Playing from behind is a recipe for disaster and will not work when the Terps eventually progress to conference games. If the Terps seek to see themselves play important games later this fall, they will need to get off on the right foot and keep that energy for 90 minutes.

3. Set piece troubles. Maryland has seen two goals enter its net this season — both off of corner kicks. A sense of relief has been felt from the Maryland bench in both games so far when free kicks are cleared from dangerous areas. It is nice to play a game without allowing much from open play, but for the Terps, a goal a game from set pieces so far is definitely worth monitoring early in the season.