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Maryland women’s soccer at Michigan State preview

The Terps look for their first conference win.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland women’s soccer (3-3-5) suffered a heartbreaking loss to Ohio State at home Sunday, giving up a goal in the 90th minute.

While Maryland was able to hold on for 89 minutes, a last-minute shot deflected wildly off the leg of defender Katie Coyle and sailed past goalkeeper Liz Beardsley into the back of the net, sealing the Terps’ fate and their third loss in a row.

Looking to get out of their slump, the Terps will travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. Last year, Maryland was blown out by the Spartans at home, 4-0.

The match is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.

Michigan State (7-2-2, 2-0-1 Big Ten)

2022 record: 17-3-3 (9-0-1 Big Ten)

Head coach Jeff Hosler has only been in East Lansing for three seasons, but he’s already had tons of success.

In his second year at the helm, Hosler was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after taking Michigan State to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He’s continued that success this season, with the Spartans undefeated through three conference games.

Players to watch

Bella Najera, freshman forward/midfielder, No. 23 — Playing as an attacking midfielder in your freshman year is usually difficult, but Najera has taken on the task with authority. She’s only started six games, but already has a team-high five goals to go along with one assist.

Justina Gaynor, senior midfielder, No. 18 — Gaynor has been a key facilitator for the Spartans this season, managing six assists, which ranks third-best in the Big Ten.

She was an All-Big Ten first-team selection last season and could pose a problem for the Terps.

Raegan Cox, senior defender, No. 8 — The 2022 All-Big Ten second-team selection has started every game this season and is a stalwart at the back for Michigan State. And she can also contribute on offense, recording a goal and an assist each this season.


Efficiency in attack. The team has been amongst the upper echelon of squads in the Big Ten in terms of offensive production. Its 192 shots rank third in the conference, while the team’s 27 goals rank fourth.


No recent shutouts. While the Spartans have an almost unblemished record this season, in recent weeks they have struggled to keep many clean sheets. In the last six games, Michigan State has only shut out one opponent and allowed seven goals.

Three things to watch

1. What formation will the Terps come out with? Maryland got creative on Sunday against Ohio State, switching up its formation. Head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer gave fullback Kennedy Bell the freedom to choose whether she wanted to play in the back or on the wing, and let the rest of the team adapt. She said this formation could appear again, and possibly against the Spartans.

2. Will Beardsley’s form continue? Even though the Terps are on a three-game skid, Beardsley is on a roll. She recorded more than eight saves in two of the last three games, both of which came in defeats.

3. Can Nemzer get her team out of a funk? After winning three straight games, Maryland has gone 0-2-1 and is struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. The forward line has been changing, and we will see if switches from the coaching staff can generate goals.