Against Navy on Thursday, Maryland women’s soccer was only able to muster a tie after leading by two goals at halftime. The Terps found themselves in the same position Sunday, leading James Madison 2-0 late in the second half.
Instead of pouncing on the chance to learn from its mistakes, Maryland surrendered a two-goal lead for the second straight game, conceding twice to James Madison in the final 10 minutes en route to a 2-2 draw.
Now four games into the season, Maryland stands at 0-1-3, giving away multi-goal leads on two occasions.
The biggest similarity between the two performances was a complete and quick collapse of the Terps’ defense after a solid start. Maryland didn’t allow a single shot in the first half, but let two goals in a span of minutes wipe away a victory.
Freshman forward Lisa McIntyre had the best single-game performance of any Terp this season, scoring both of Maryland’s goals. Her energy to make runs seemed infinite, and her persistence to get in behind the James Madison (2-1-1) back line was the catalyst for both scores.
The freshman did not start the first two games of the season, but since being put into the starting lineup, she’s tallied two goals and an assist.
“I think [McIntyre’s] becoming a huge impact player, learning a lot and working hard. And we’re gonna need a lot out of her this season,” Maryland head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer said.
However, McIntyre was the reason the comeback started, as her misplaced foul in the 80th minute gave the Dukes a penalty kick, which forward Sophia Verrecchia buried into the top-right corner.
James Madison’s second goal came a few minutes later, when a ball into the box wasn’t cleared and reached the feet of forward Amanda Attanasi, who buried it past Maryland goalie Liz Beardsley in the 82nd minute.
Nemzer thought the game management by her team was lacking toward the end, saying, “We don’t need to send eight people up when we’re winning 2-1, when you know that they’re just now punching the ball in the back [of the net].”
The Terps took advantage of mistakes too, however, as James Madison goalkeeper Alexandra Blom was caught out of position by a run from McIntyre in the 22nd minute, which resulted in a goal on a wide-open net. Later, Blom attempted to clear the ball directly at a sprinting McIntyre, and it ricocheted in for Maryland’s second goal in the 65th minute.
Blom looked sharp for much of the second half, though, highlighted by a save on a long-range shot by Madison Krakower in the 54th minute. Blom finished with four saves compared to Beardsley’s two.
This game also marked the second game in which Maryland’s attack was extremely aggressive and recorded more chances than its opponent. The Terps finished with 15 shots while limiting James Madison to eight, marking the second straight game in which the Terps recorded double-digit shots and held their opponent under 10.
Now, nearly a quarter of the way through their season, the Terps are yet to find a victory and have finished with three draws. Last season, Maryland started with four straight draws.
“[We’ve] got to be a little bit more intentional about closing out games right now,” Nemzer said. “So we’re gonna look at that as a coaching staff.”
Three things to know
1. Freshmen continue to shine. The impact of Maryland’s freshmen has been felt to start this season, especially on Sunday. Defender Kennedy Bell had a great sliding challenge in the first half and forward Peyton Bernard had her second assist in two games. McIntyre also scored her first two goals as a Terp.
2. The back line folded yet again. Every position group for Maryland so far has had its ups and downs, but the defense remains the most inconsistent. The Dukes were caught offsides six times on Sunday, but Maryland’s back line lost all focus after James Madison scored its first goal.
3. What will the next few weeks look like? The Terps’ next four games will decide how the rest of their season will play out. Maryland will face local rivals VCU and Towson this upcoming week. Then, the Terps will play George Mason before traveling north to take on Binghamton. Winning two of the next four games could be the difference between a forgettable season and a step forward.