Maryland women’s soccer broke its string of three consecutive draws on Sunday, finally winning its first game of the season.
It was a lockdown performance from the Terps, with goalkeeper Liz Beardsley making three saves to preserve a 1-0 shutout against Towson.
The match was won on a moment of brilliance from defender Kennedy Bell — who was later named Big Ten Freshman of the Week — when she made a long run from her fullback position into the box and found forward Ava Morales for the go-ahead goal.
Now with a win under their belt, the Terps will welcome George Mason to Ludwig Field for the second consecutive season. The match is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
George Mason (0-6, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
2022 record: 1-10-7 (0-5-5 Atlantic 10)
It’s been a rough go for head coach Manya Puppione since being hired in July 2021. The team has only won seven games in her tenure and remains winless this season. Last year, George Mason only won one game.
The Patriots also fell to Maryland, 3-0, last year.
Players to watch
Sophie Davidson, sophomore forward, No. 18 — Davidson had an impressive freshman season, during which she scored three goals. This season, she’s started five games and is tied for the most shots on the team with four.
Rachel Eberly, sophomore midfielder, No. 31 — Eberly has played the third most minutes of any Patriot this season. She also leads the team with three shots on goal.
Maria Franjicic, freshman midfielder, No. 24 — As a freshman, Franjicic is second on the team in minutes played (468), starting in all six games.
Young talent. Without any wins or goals, George Mason doesn’t have a lot of on-the-field strengths. But Puppione is handling this situation properly in terms of player development, with six of her most recent starters being freshmen.
Team defense. In their first six games, the Patriots have allowed an average of 3.5 goals per game. Their 21 goals allowed are the most in the Atlantic 10, with La Salle being the closest at 13.
Three things to watch
1. Maryland will likely play aggressive from the start. In the past few games, the Terps were aggressive from the jump. It was their immediate pressure which stifled Towson on Sunday, and it would not be surprising to see head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer continue that tactic against a struggling opponent.
2. Another clean sheet? Maryland’s defense has kept a clean sheet in the past two games, and has a real chance to make it three in a row. The Terps have minimized moments of peril in the second half recently, which is encouraging after their failure to close out games in the beginning of the season.
3. Two in a row at home? It hasn’t been the prettiest start to the season for Maryland, but a streak of wins against local foes could provide a confidence boost with conference play looming.