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Maryland women’s soccer surrenders two-goal lead, escapes with draw against Navy

The Terps remain winless through three games.

Maryland women’s soccer allowed three unanswered goals, but a 78th-minute equalizer earned it a draw against Navy.
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland women’s soccer had one last chance to find a winning goal in the final minute of a back-and-forth game against Navy.

In transition, midfielder Lauren Wrigley ran up the field, searching for an open teammate. She found forward Peyton Bernard, who was making a run, and cushioned the ball into her path. Bernard looked up at the goal and thought about the shot, but took a second touch instead and had her shot blocked, squandering the chance.

It was a hectic Thursday night at Ludwig Field, as Maryland scored two goals inside of 20 minutes in its home opener. But a rally from the Midshipmen evened the game, which would eventually end in a 3-3 draw.

It seemed as if Navy had scored the winner in the 75th minute with an amazing stretch of build-up play. Maryland’s back line came undone at the seams, and Navy found forward Isabella Romano in the box. Her shot was deflected, but on target, and looped up and over the outstretched glove of Beardsley to give the Midshipmen a 3-2 lead.

But in the 78th minute, the Terps found an equalizer out of nothing. A corner kick found its way to defender Eden White outside the box, who took a shot from distance. The chance was saved by Gallagher, but defender Katie Coyle pounced on the rebound and tapped it into the far corner.

“You let up three and then you come back and get that third one, I think that shows a lot of growth, especially for a young team,” Maryland head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer said.

Coyle’s goal was reminiscent of the Terps’ dominant first half, where they jumped on a Navy team struggling to move forward in possession.

In the 10th minute, Maryland got on the board with its first goal of the 2023 season. A free kick was lofted in the box toward Bernard, who controlled the ball off her chest to the feet of midfielder Catherine DeRosa, who blasted a shot past Navy goalkeeper Mattie Gallagher. Just five minutes later, forward Lisa McIntyre slid the ball to a wide-open freshman forward Madison Krakower, who took a few dribbles before slotting a shot into the back of the net.

But the away team started the second half with a flurry of its own goals. First, forward Alexa Riddle delivered a beautiful aerial ball to forward Marlee Heaven, who headed it home in the 49th minute. Then, two minutes later, Heaven again headed home a looping ball to tie the game.

“They understood that both of our goals came from not marking,” Krakower said, “So they were making sure that they were man-marking us at that point.”

It took nearly half an hour before the Midshipmen scored their third consecutive goal, but Coyle’s tally allowed the Terps to escape with a draw despite surrendering an early lead.

Both goalies showcased their skills Thursday, with Maryland’s Liz Beardsley and Gallagher coming up big. Gallagher recorded eight saves, highlighted by a key stop on Wrigley in the first five minutes of the match. Beardsley kept the Terps out of harm’s way multiple times throughout, although she only tallied one save.

For the first time this season, Maryland had double-digit shots in a game, outshooting Navy, 17-6.

“Everyone’s questioning, you know, can we score?,” said Nemzer. “I think we showed that we can score, and now we got to clean up those little pieces on the defensive side.”

Three things to know

1. The Terps’ passing looked fluid. When a team introduces eight new starters into a lineup, early struggles are expected. But after changing the lineup, it looked as though Nemzer finally put the right pieces together. The midfield looked poised and outplayed the Midshipmen for most of the game.

2. Bernard shined in her second start. In Maryland’s first game, forward Kat Parris started and was the main target of many runs into the box. But after failing to score, Nemzer decided to start Bernard as one of the team’s two strikers — and it paid off. She finished the game with an assist and was the primary target of Maryland’s link-up play, holding possession and allowing the midfield to come forward and be a part of the offense.

3. Maryland’s defense unraveled. Through the first two games of the season, Maryland’s back line was its biggest strength, allowing only one goal in four halves. But the second half on Thursday saw the team let in three goals, with none of them being the fault of Beardsley. Two runs from Heaven were not properly marked, and the defense fell apart on Navy’s third goal.