For the third straight game in the tenure of Maryland women’s soccer head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer, Maryland relied on a rally after trailing 1-0 to Temple. In the 59th minute, junior midfielder Juliana Lynch had her turn at netting a tying goal for the Terps as she received a pinpoint pass from senior forward Alina Stahl and put the ball in the back of the net.
The goal was the equalizer and evened the score at one, leading to a 1-1 draw on Sunday night in Philadelphia — the third consecutive tie to start the season for Maryland — moving its record to 0-0-3.
Neither team got much going in the opening 15 minutes of the contest, with the Terps completely clogging the midfield and the suffocating Penn defense intercepting almost every ball that Maryland sent into an attacking area.
Long balls halfway across the field and set plays down the near-side corner flag came to no avail on separate occasions in the opening 20 minutes.
Both teams continued to play without much rhythm, highlighted by back-to-back corners — one for each team — that ended in errant passes out of bounds without much opposition pressure.
After the 25th minute, Maryland finally started to come into its own, simplifying play and attacking straight into the heart of the Quakers defense.
However, they once again were unsuccessful converting on three corner kick opportunities, allowing the Quakers to break the ice.
In the 32nd minute, Penn senior attacker Sizzy Lawton took full advantage of a foul by graduate defender Malikae Dayes right outside the box.
Lawton perfectly bended a wonder strike into the top left corner of the net, leaving senior goalkeeper Madeline Smith with no other option but to watch the ball fly past her, giving Penn the lead.
For the third game in a row to start the season, the Terps found themselves down 1-0, and yet again it was conceded on a set piece.
The three goals Maryland allowed to that point in the season all came from set pieces.
“You turn off for one second, they capitalize,” Nemzer said following Friday’s matchup when asked about the Terps’ struggles at defending corner kicks and free kicks so far.
Once again, Nemzer saw her team fall behind 1-0 despite playing a tight game from the start.
That deficit nearly doubled, as the Quakers found possession following a Maryland corner kick which saw a delivery end up nowhere near the 18-yard-box. With Penn on the counter, the Terps had just two defenders to Penn’s four attackers, which made Dayes — who was already playing on a yellow card after her 32’ foul which led to the opening goal — put in a risky challenge to clear Maryland of any danger.
Fortunately for the Terps, the graduate defender sprinted towards Penn’s ball carrier, putting on a successful challenge to stop the odd-woman rush and keep the score at 1-0.
At the half, Penn’s lone shot was the goal, leaving the Terps with a familiar challenge of rallying to change the tide.
In the first two games, the Terps came out quickly after conceding a goal and registered a near-immediate response, but as the second half started on Sunday evening, that was not the case. Maryland struggled to find itself in Penn’s third and the Quakers were the ones with a solid chance in the 53rd minute.
Sophomore forward Isobel Glass found herself with a few yards of space from around 20 yards out and went for goal.
Maddie Smith undoubtedly made her best save of the season, though, getting a finger on a rising shot which was headed just under the cross bar, keeping the Terps alive in the contest.
Just minutes later Maryland was able to draw even as Lynch found herself in front of a gaping net and slotted home her first goal as a Terp in the 59th minute.
Stahl fought off a Penn defender on the play to find her former West Virginia teammate all alone.
Maryland found a jolt of energy after the goal, managing two efforts on net in the next two minutes. Although both attempts were no good, it was a sign of changing momentum in Philadelphia.
With the away team beginning to take over in the attacking third, frustration from the Quakers arose.
Three fouls and a couple of takedowns in a matter of ten minutes saw Maryland have its chances to capitalize against a Penn defense that was clearly on its heels.
The Terps’ best chance came in the 82nd minute, when a low drive by Alyssa Poarch forced Penn goalkeeper Laurence Gladu into a tough save. With the ball laying on the goal line, Stahl was inches away from getting a boot on the ball to force it to the back of the net, but Gladu was able to corral it at the last minute, ending Maryland’s contest in yet another draw.
Three things to know
1. Comeback Terps? If the first three games are an indication, it’s that Nemzer’s crew has a resiliency that has not been seen in past years of this program. Down 1-0 in all three games, Maryland has rallied back to draw even in each contest. Despite not having a win, they also have yet to lose.
2. Madeline Smith had her best game yet. With Maryland down 1-0, Smith’s jaw-dropping save to keep the deficit within one was a massively important one, as it gave the Terps momentum which led to the eventual tying goal by Juliana Lynch. Penn’s lone goal was an unstoppable one, and despite it, Smith played a good game in net.
3. The former Mountaineers are settling in nicely for the Terps. Juliana Lynch and Alina Stahl have been two of Maryland’s best players so far this season. Stahl now has a goal and an assist on the season, and Lynch’s goal tonight was the first from a midfielder to this point. Lynch came in as a dominant box-to-box midfielder and Stahl arrived as a prized attacker. Both West Virginia transfers have lived up to the hype so far, and they combined for the Terps’ lone goal tonight.