Maryland women’s soccer head coach Meg Ryan Nemzer could not help but look at her husband — and assistant coach — Joe with her hands in the air in disbelief following the team’s 1-1 draw against Navy.
For the second game in a row, their team had just about doubled their opposition in shots but only had two total goals to account for their performance.
“If we weren’t creating opportunities, I would be worried. But we are,” Nemzer said immediately following the disappointing draw.
It was no secret that this team could have been 2-0 after their opening week, but instead Nemzer saw her first couple of games end in ties.
The Terps headed back down to Philadelphia this past Sunday night and saw the game end in yet another 1-1 tie, this time registering eight shots on net — three more than their Penn counterparts.
Through three games, the newly-formed Terps have outshot, out-possessed and — for the most part — outplayed their opponents. Yet, the ball isn’t hitting the back of the net.
Now, just three games into a whole new era of the program with a brand new team and staff, it is only right to ask questions about the team’s early scoring woes.
Eighteen shots on goal have resulted in just three goals — a measly .166 shooting percentage, which currently ranks 12th in the Big Ten.
So, is it luck, unfamiliarity or misfortune? Graduate forward Kam Fisher, who has one of Maryland’s three goals this season, didn’t seem phased.
“I think [we need to go] more game-realistic and practice finishing those shots, so that when we get on here on the field, we can do it in real life,” she said.
In the Terps’ first game against Temple, they ran into a heroic performance from the Owls’ star goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein, who prevented a scoreline which could have seen three or four Maryland goals.
Against Navy, the Terps hit two posts while seeing odd-woman attacks end in shots skied way over the crossbar.
And finally, at Penn, the Terps attack took well over 55 minutes to find their legs and get the ball towards the opposition’s goal.
Last season, Maryland registered seven goals in its first three games, with what is widely considered a less-prolific roster. The Terps brought in attacking reinforcements this season, highlighted by West Virginia transfer Alina Stahl and UTEP transfer Kam Fisher, for more goal scoring. But to this point, a newly-formed attack is failing to click in the final third.
Needless to say, Maryland’s schedule is about to become much more difficult, beginning Thursday against a top-11 team in Georgetown — whose specialty is scoring goals. If the Terps cannot bag a few, it is going to be a long night.
Nemzer’s crew still has a few weeks before conference play, but the struggle to put points on the board is something to monitor early in the season.
“[What] I’m excited about is that with every single training session, every single game, you’re starting to see our rhythm, you’re starting to see the relationships evolve,” Nemzer said. “We talked about being 1% better. So for us, we’re excited about that opportunity again on Thursday.”