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Looking ahead at Maryland women’s soccer’s conference schedule

The Terps begin conference play on Friday night against Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

“That’s not true, is it?”

Maryland women’s soccer junior midfielder Sydney Urban had to look around the room and ask that when she was told that Maryland women’s soccer hadn’t won a conference game in two seasons.

“Well, that’s not gonna last very long.”

Urban, one of Maryland’s 12 transfers this season, exemplifies the confidence the entire lineup exudes.

Despite the Terps not seeing a win in the ultra-competitive Big Ten since Sep. 22, 2019 and being one of just two teams in the conference this season to have one win or less, hopes are high inside their locker room.

With that, here’s a breakdown of the 1-1-5 Terps’ 10-game conference schedule.

vs. Michigan

Friday Sep. 16, 7 p.m.

Last year’s result: 2-1 L (OT)

Tied for third in the nation in goals through eight games so far, the Wolverines have unsurprisingly scored their way to a 5-2-1 non-conference record. Averaging over three goals a game, the Wolverines have continued where they left off last season — upsetting Rutgers to win the Big Ten tournament before advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Outside of two tough defeats to Iowa State and Butler, it’s been a dominant start for fifth-year head coach Jennifer Klein’s crew.

vs. Illinois

Thursday, Sep. 22, 7 p.m.

Last year’s result: 2-1 L

The Illini are off to a very solid start, following a 2021 campaign which saw them finish at 5-11-1. They had the second-worst conference record last season behind only the Terps. Entering conference play at 5-2-1 this season, Illinois has a winning record from their nonconference slate for the first time since 2019. This might be a sign of things to come, as prior to last season’s debacle, Illinois had secured three straight winning records in the Big Ten.

at Rutgers

Sunday, Sep. 25, 1 p.m.

Last year’s result: 5-2 L

Nemzer has this matchup bookmarked, as she’ll take her team to the school at which she spent 17 years (14 on the coaching staff). The Scarlet Knights are the team to beat in the conference, and are 8-0 to start the season. Currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, they do just about everything right, and are perennial favorites to capture the Big Ten crown.

at Wisconsin

Thursday, Sep. 29, 7 p.m.

No 2021 Meeting

Maryland and Wisconsin haven’t played since 2019, when the Badgers won 3-0. In fact, Maryland hasn’t won in all six meetings between the teams. The Badgers enter conference play outside the top 25 after spending three games early in the season there. Entering Big Ten play at 5-1-2, they are one of seven teams in the conference to have recorded at least five wins.

vs. Michigan State

Sunday, Oct. 2, 1 p.m.

Last year’s result: 2-0 L

Michigan State is yet another above-average team in the Big Ten, also sitting at 5-1-2 after a very difficult nonconference schedule. The Spartans are coming off a season which ended in the first round of the conference tournament, but return much of their experienced starting lineup. Last season, they saw their first postseason experience after a disappointing decade. They’re off to a good start aiming to make back-to-back appearances in the postseason.

vs. Penn State

Sunday, Oct. 9, 1 p.m.

Last year’s result: 5-1 L

If Rutgers is 1A in the Big Ten, Penn State is 1B. The Nittany Lions have notched seven conference wins in eight of the past ten seasons. Ranked No. 11 in the nation, they take a record of 5-1-1 with them into Big Ten play. After falling in the third round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, they’re back as co-conference favorites, led by two of the nation’s best players in seniors Ally Schlegel and Penelope Hocking.

at Ohio State

Thursday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.

Last year’s result: 2-1 L

The No. 22 Buckeyes are one of four ranked Big Ten teams (Rutgers, Penn State, Northwestern) and their nonconference slate was very good. At 5-1-1, their lone loss came to BYU with the draw coming against Texas A&M, two ranked opponents. Last season was a disappointing one for Ohio State, as they had an average regular season and exited the NCAA Tournament after round one, but the team looks destined to make its seventh tournament appearance in the past eight years.

vs. Minnesota

Sunday, Oct. 16, 1 p.m.

No 2021 Meeting

The Gophers haven’t achieved a .500 record in conference play since 2019 — the same year the Terps last achieved a win in conference play. After starting the season 0-3-1, they rang off four consecutive victories to end nonconference play. None of those victories were against a Power-5 program, but it was still very impressive. Minnesota and Maryland will likely find themselves fighting toward the bottom end of the Big Ten table, so this matchup’s result will be telling.

at Indiana

Thursday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

Last year’s result: 0-0 (2OT)

Indiana’s nonconference slate was similar to Maryland’s, as the defense held up strong, but it just couldn’t put the ball in the net. The Hoosiers’ five ties are tied for most in the country with Maryland included in that bunch (2-0-5). Indiana has found itself in a fight for postseason berth for the past few years, and is expected to be in the same position this season. The Hoosiers have a good, young team and put on a great defensive display to begin the season, so time will tell if they can elevate their offensive output in Big Ten play.

at Purdue

Sunday, Oct. 23, 1 p.m.

No 2021 Meeting

Despite finishing nonconference play at 3-4, Purdue is a very good soccer team. The Boilermakers have fallen out of their ranked spot to begin the season, suffering back-to-back losses against SEC opponents in Kentucky and Vanderbilt before falling to No. 9 Notre Dame, 3-1. A difficult nonconference schedule should propel a balanced Purdue squad as they enter Big Ten play. The Boilermakers thrive at home, and will have that advantage against Maryland.

Final Record Prediction: 2-6-2

Last season, the final seed of the Big Ten tournament was Wisconsin, who finished at 3-3-4, so a 2-6-2 record would likely have the Terps on the outside looking in.

This is the first season in a new era of Maryland’s women’s soccer, and in such a competitive conference, it is foolish to think success will be immediate.

Last season, the Terps finished 0-7-3 in conference play, with three of those losses coming by just one goal. There is also no overtime this year, so results may differ when compared to last season.

Progress will be made though. The Terps only improved this offseason, and continue to do so.

“[Friday] starts season two for us. Everyone in the Big Ten has the same record going into season two”, Nemzer said.

Season two has shown zero wins in the past two seasons. Will this year have victory number one?