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Maryland women’s soccer outclassed by No. 6 Penn State in 4-0 loss

The Terps’ three-game winning streak was snapped in emphatic fashion.

Liz Beardsley (above) had nine saves Friday.
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland women’s soccer was on a three-game win streak, booming with confidence. But it had not faced top-tier competition yet.

The Terps got a major reality check Friday against No. 6 Penn State. The perennial conference title favorites had the field slanted toward Maryland goalkeeper Liz Beardsley from the opening kick, taking a 6-1 advantage in shots before the 15-minute mark. One of which came in the sixth minute, when defender Kate Wiesner unleashed a wicked shot, lacing the ball into the top corner of the net from 20 yards out.

The Nittany Lions controlled the game for the entire 90 minutes of play, eventually extending the lead to 4-0 in a dominant shutout.

Maryland fell to 2-13 all-time against the Nittany Lions.

The Terps’ defense had been its strongest link over a successful string of games, but it completely unraveled Friday. Their identity of late had been securing clean sheets, but the Nittany Lions, averaging close to three goals per game coming into the contest, put on a clinic.

From the first minute, Penn State’s speed, passing ability and array of talents had the Terps in shambles.

Provided the Nittany Lions, now 7-0 on the season, have national championship aspirations, one would still assume that Maryland would be able to adjust after the opening goal. Instead, it did the opposite, forcing Beardsley to stand on her head.

The junior made four instantaneous saves, and finished the contest with a season-high nine stops.

Maryland found itself being outshot a staggering 14-1 at the end of the first period, but because of Beardsley’s heroics, it was just down one.

But the dam broke — deservedly so — in Penn State’s favor early in the second half.

The Nittany Lions would rattle off another 13 shots in the latter 45 minutes, scoring on three. Senior defender Ellie Wheeler slid one toward the far post in the 60th minute, sophomore midfielder Olivia Borgen sniped the corner 10 minutes later and for good measure, senior attacker Rebecca Cooke went upstairs in the waning minutes of the game.

Outscored by four and outshot by 25, Maryland was embarrassed Friday, showing that it isn’t yet at the standard of a “championship culture” that head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer believes the Terps are building toward.

Three things to know

1. Maryland was outclassed for 90 minutes. There was not a moment in the game in which Maryland looked like the better team. On the scoresheet and to the naked eye, a championship-caliber Penn State team had its way with the Terps.

2. Beardsley was outstanding despite allowing four goals. Penn State should have been up by at least three goals after the first half, if not for Beardsley’s impressive showing. She finished with nine saves on the night and prevented a complete blowout.

3. Are the Terps in store for yet another tough year of conference play? Maryland’s Big Ten woes are well-documented. Over the past three years, the Terps have just three conference wins — all coming last season. Was Friday’s showing a preview of what’s to come?