After a disappointing showing in non-conference play, Maryland men’s soccer (1-2-1) looks to creep back into the national rankings. Winless in two straight matches, the Terps have struggled to consistently capitalize, scoring only three goals in four games this season.
The Terps now begin Big Ten play and their quest to repeat as regular-season champions with a home contest against Michigan.
The Wolverines have struggled out of the gate, with their lone win coming against California Baptist. In their most recent match, they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Creighton.
Thursday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. and be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
Michigan Wolverines (1-2-2)
2022 record: 4-10-3 (1-6-1 Big Ten)
Head coach Chaka Daley is in his 12th season at the helm of Michigan’s men’s soccer program. Despite recent struggles, Daley has significantly transformed the program, achieving a record of 53-37-19 over the past five seasons. In 2017, the Wolverines won the Big Ten regular-season title, and then clinched NCAA Tournament berths in each of the following two seasons.
Players to know
Bryce Blevins, senior midfielder, No. 11 — Blevins, a team captain, had a standout year in 2022, leading the team with five assists. He also ranked second with 1,308 minutes played. Although he has just one goal and one assist this season, he has the potential to make a significant impact.
Quin Rogers, senior midfielder, No. 6 — Rogers came into the year with 37 career starts, and tallied two goals and one assist last season. This year, the senior has one goal on seven shot attempts.
Jason Bucknor, junior defender, No. 2 — Bucknor is the leader of Michigan’s defense and earned himself a spot on the All-Big Ten freshman team in 2021.
Link-up play. Michigan’s midfielders play a significant role in the team’s ball movement. Michigan currently ranks fourth in the Big Ten in assists (7).
Defense. Michigan has allowed seven goals this season, the second-worst mark in the Big Ten. The Wolverines also rank second-worst in the conference with a cumulative save percentage of .667.
Three things to watch
1. The start of Big Ten play. The Terps have struggled to start the season and need to improve in conference play. Last year, Maryland went 4-0-4 in conference games, which included a 2-1 victory over the Wolverines.
2. Can Copetti continue his scoring streak? Stefan Copetti ended his scoring woes against Virginia last week. As Maryland’s most well-rounded offensive threat, his involvement in the attack is crucial. If he’s not contributing, the Terps’ offense will struggle.
3. Controlling the pace of play. Recently, the Terps have struggled to dictate the pace of the game early on, allowing opponents to settle in — especially in the first half. It’s led to fatigue in second halves, so it’ll be crucial for the Terps to establish themselves from the onset.