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Maryland women’s soccer breaks through late in 1-0 win over Binghamton

Ava Morales scored the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland women’s soccer looked destined for its fifth draw of the season, tied with Binghamton with under 10 minutes to play. But all it takes is one stroke of luck, and Binghamton midfielder Alex Marstellar’s gave the Terps a penalty in the 82nd minute.

Forward Ava Morales calmly stepped up and fired a shot, which grazed the left palm of goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams on its way into the net to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.

The penalty was Morales’ third goal in the last three games, and Maryland’s first penalty goal since 2017. She’s forced her way into the starting lineup as of late, showing some great quality in the attacking third.

“I think she’s doing an unbelievable job because of her mentality,” head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer said of Morales. “She’s grown every single day with that.”

The lone goal was all Maryland needed to defeat Binghamton, 1-0, and extend its winning streak to three.

It’s the program’s longest winning streak in six years, having last won three straight in 2017.

The backline was sensational as well, holding Binghamton to just one shot on goal. Goalkeeper Liz Beardsley was barely tested, as the chemistry between the midfielders and the backline looked the strongest its been all season. The Terps have now recorded four straight clean sheets.

“I think we’re building relationships, and that backline is all about trust,” said Nemzer, “I think they’re trusting each other a lot more.”

But it wasn’t an easy start for the Terps.

The Bearcats were on the front foot throughout the whole first half, getting into good areas and managing three shot attempts during the period. Sunday marked the first time that Maryland had been outshot in a first half since the second game of the season against Florida.

The struggles to link up play between the midfielders and the attackers were glaring early for the Terps, as many balls were either overhit or misplaced.

Both backlines held strong throughout the first half, though, with Maryland defender Kennedy Bell shutting down numerous passes down the left flank.

Katie Coyle made a crucial tackle inside the box as well, preventing a one-on-one situation in the 28th minute.

Toward the end of the first half, forward Kelsey Smith almost had her first goal of the season. A long pass into the box found her feet after a fortuitous bounce, but she was only able to get a toe on it. The ball still slipped past the keeper and was headed for an open net, but there was little pace on the shot and Williams was able to fall on it in time.

Just like the Bearcats did in the opening half, the Terps came out strong to start the second half.

“I thought we made some [halftime] adjustments to sort of counter [them],” Nemzer said.

Maryland outshot Binghamton, 10-3 in the half.

Madison Krakower recorded the game’s first shot on goal in the 48th minute, but she fired it directly at a diving Williams at her near post.

Williams was tested again at her near post in the 59th minute, palming away a shot from Morales after a nice spell of transition from the Terps.

The breakthrough goal nearly came in the 73rd minute off a corner. Smith laced a shot in the box that was cleared off the line by forward Samiya Reid, and the rebound shot by Coyle was headed off the line.

Following the penalty, attempts by Binghamton to get an equalizer fell flat, with balls into the box lacking the quality to locate any attacker.

Three things to know

1. Another first half shutout. Maryland’s defense has been the team’s strongest position group all season, and its discipline in the first 45 minutes continues to impress. The Terps have only allowed one first-half goal all season.

2. After a rocky start to the season, the Terps have caught fire. Maryland started the season 0-1-4, and are now just one game under .500.

“We got a lot of experience and we got some growing pains out at the beginning of the season and now we’re ready,” Catherine DeRosa said. “Whoever’s next, whoever we’re playing next is the most important game and we’re ready to make a statement in the Big Ten.”

3. No matter the lineup, the wins keep coming. On this three-game win streak, Nemzer has used three different starting lineups. Nemzer preaches the importance of the depth, and she reiterated that Sunday: “You can’t win with 11 players, you’ve got to win with depth,” she said.