Although Maryland women’s soccer faced raised expectations following last season’s progress, the Terps find themselves without a win entering their home opener.
In the team’s second game of the season, Maryland’s back line held on for as long as it could, only giving up one goal to Florida. However, the Terps’ offense didn’t hold up its end of the deal and was shutout for the second consecutive game, resulting in a 1-0 defeat.
With the first two games of the season in the rearview mirror, Maryland now has its eyes set on Navy. The two teams also squared off in the beginning of last season, ending in a 1-1 draw in Annapolis.
The Terps’ match against Navy will take place on Thursday at 5:45 p.m. and be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
Navy Midshipmen (1-0-1, 0-0 Patriot League)
2022 record: (8-8-3, 4-5 Patriot League)
Under head coach Carin Gabarra, Navy women’s soccer has managed a winning season in 25 of the past 29 years.
Last season, Navy clinched a berth in its conference tournament after finishing fifth in the Patriot League. But similarly to the season before, the Midshipmen lost in the first round of that event and failed to reach the NCAA Tournament.
The Midshipmen have yet to lose this season and will surely test Maryland at home.
Players to watch
Amanda Graziano, junior forward, No. 3 – As a sophomore, Graziano led the team in goals (2) and assists (5), earning an All-Patriot League second-team selection. This season, she will yet again be the focal point of the offense.
Chloe Dawson, senior defender, No. 26 – Dawson has been a trusted contributor to Navy’s back line and has started in all but two of her 50 appearances. In her sophomore season, she made the All-Patriot League second team after totaling five assists in 19 starts. Last season, she saw time as a midfielder and defender, further proving her versatility.
Mattie Gallagher, senior goalkeeper, No. 0 – Gallagher has been one of the best goalies in the Patriot League over the last few seasons. Last year, she averaged 5.18 saves per game — the most in the conference — and was second in the conference with a .830 save percentage, earning an All-Patriot League third-team selection. She has only allowed one goal in two games thus far.
Offensive fluidity. Last season, the Midshipmen were near the top of their conference in practically every offensive category, primary because of their ability to create opportunities. Navy ranked second in the Patriot League with 5.42 shots on goal per game and third with 232 total shots. The team also led the conference in assists (26) and was fourth in goals (22).
Fouls. One of the only criticisms of Navy last season — besides not winning a conference title — was the amount of fouls they committed. Navy committed the fourth-most penalties per game in its conference with 8.79. The Midshipmen were also one of four teams to receive a red card.
Three things to know
1. Can Beardsley be consistent in net? Despite letting through the deciding goal against Florida on Sunday, Maryland goalkeeper Liz Beardsley played very well in the first two games of the season. She already has the second-most saves (7) in the Big Ten and is posting a .875 save percentage. The Navy offense should be a big test for Beardsley, though, in her first home start with the Terps.
2. Will the Terps finally score? Maryland’s offense has struggled with almost an entirely new attack. While the Terps have a .700 shot accuracy on goal — which leads the Big Ten — they also have the lowest total shots (10) of any team in the conference. They’ll need to create more chances in order to put one in the back of the net on Thursday.
3. Maryland’s streak in home openers. Regardless of the overall records the program has had in recent years, Maryland women’s soccer has been spectacular in home openers. The team hasn’t lost a home opener since 2016, and it holds a 20-3-5 all-time record in those games. Even though Maryland hasn’t won this year, it’ll be interesting to see if playing in front of “The Crew” — Maryland soccer’s supporters group — will make a difference.