Maryland women’s soccer entered Sunday’s match against No. 22 Michigan looking to rebound after a 5-0 loss to Michigan State on Thursday.
Instead, the Terps once again looked defeated from the opening kick.
Maryland was forced to sit back and defend for most of the game, and gave up at least 25 shots for the third straight game as it lost to Michigan, 4-0.
Faced with stiffer competition recently, Maryland’s defense, which kept six clean sheets in the early parts of this season, has looked tired of bailing out an inexperienced attack. In its last two games, Maryland (3-5-5) gave up nine goals. It surrendered just seven goals in the eight games prior.
Liz Beardsley had another solid game in goal, making seven saves, but the Terps were outshot 26-8. Of their eight shots, only two were on target.
“I think we’re giving the ball away when we have plenty of time,” head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer said.
The Terps only had one meaningful chance Sunday, when defender Kennedy Bell found herself one-on-one with the keeper in the 70th minute. Bell tried to sneak it inside the far post, but Michigan goalie Stephanie Sparkowski made the stop.
The Wolverines came out of the gates aggressive, outshooting the Terps, 5-1, and were rewarded in the fifth minute when Jenna Lang buried a shot in the bottom right corner.
Maryland tried to find success on the counter attack, but often struggled to get out of its own half. In the 18th minute, defender Katie Coyle found herself under pressure from Michigan forward Sammi Woods and conceded a penalty.
Woods stepped up to the spot and forced Beardsley the wrong way to give Michigan a 2-0 lead.
“We got to be better disciplined with that piece of it,” Nemzer said of the team allowing set-piece goals.
Despite the early pressure, Maryland held on for the rest of the first half, and forced the issue in the final 15 minutes. Despite that late push, it was still outshot 11-5 in the period.
When the second half started, all the promise Maryland showed late in the first half quickly disappeared. The Wolverines poured numbers into the attack and outshot the Terps, 6-1, in the first 16 minutes of the half.
That pressure led to two more Michigan goals before the 61st minute to exterminate any chance at a Maryland comeback. Michigan forward Gabrielle Prych headed in a corner in the 56th minute, and then Woods tapped in a loose ball five minutes later to make it 4-0.
Maryland has just five games left to close out its season with a winning record.
“We’ve got to regroup because there’s still a lot of points for them on the table right now,” Nemzer said.
Three things to know
1. Another first-half meltdown. Before this week, Maryland only gave up two first-half goals all season. In their last two games, the Terps have given up a combined five goals through the first 20 minutes of each the game.
2. Attacking moves looked sharp. Over the last few games, Nemzer’s team struggled to get the ball inside the box. However, against Michigan, Maryland’s attackers got in prime position, but lacked the critical finishing needed to score.
“We were in the position to make the play,” Nemzer said, “we just unfortunately didn’t make plays during that moment.”
3. The schedule gets a bit easier next week. In the last four games, the Terps have played four of the top six teams in the Big Ten standings. None of their next three opponents are in that group, offering a chance for Maryland to possibly record its first conference win.