Maryland women’s soccer midfielder Catherine DeRosa shrugged off a tackle in the 38th minute and found herself with space far outside the box.
She then curved it into the top left corner, leaving George Mason goalkeeper Ginny Fronk hopeless as the ball sailed over her head and hit the back of the net.
The goal was just one of the many highlights from the Terps’ dominant 2-0 win, their second victory of the season.
DeRosa wasn’t the only player to score from outside the box Thursday either.
In the 65th minute, the Patriots’ defense backed off Maryland forward Ava Morales, giving her plenty of space. She took that open space and rattled the top left corner of the net.
Thursday’s victory marked Maryland’s most dominant all-around performance of the season. The Terps made their presence felt on both ends of the pitch and made history in the process. They didn’t allow a single shot, their first time doing so since joining the Big Ten in 2014.
The back line kept everything in front of it, preserving the team’s fourth clean sheet of the season, and third in a row. Maryland defense was altered Thursday, as head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer started Halle Johnson instead of Katie Coyle. Nemzer had previously praised Johnson, saying, “the last two weeks for Halle have been unbelievable.”
Nemzer continued to praise Johnson on Thursday: “She’s absolutely amazing back there, she’s a stud.”
Up top, Maryland was able to constantly put pressure on a George Mason defense that had allowed 21 goals in its first six games. Maryland finished with a staggering 28 shots, 13 of which were on goal in a dominant offensive showing. It was the most shots Maryland has had in a game since 2015.
“Wishing we could put a couple more back in the net, but to have 28 shots [for] and to have zero shots on our goal, I think it speaks about a total team performance,” Nemzer said.
The Terps almost got on the board inside the first minute, when forward Peyton Bernard found the ball in the box and lashed a shot which required a diving save from the Fronk. That was a taste of what was to come, as Maryland completely controlled the first 20 minutes.
Despite not being able to find the net early, the Terps found themselves outshooting the Patriots, 6-0, before DeRosa broke the tie. Isabel DiPrima also had a headed chance that hit the top of the crossbar.
Early in the second half, Maryland rattled its second crossbar of the game when a shot from forward Lisa McIntyre hit the frame of the goal.
Maryland forced five saves from Fronk in the second half, at times looking like George Mason’s only defender. As such, the Patriots never got any foothold in the game, and Maryland held strong for the win.
Three things to know
1. Changes to the starting lineup. Nemzer was asked Wednesday about potential changes to the starting lineup moving forward after Sunday’s win.
“If I rolled out with another lineup, I still feel very confident in it because of what they’re doing in training,” she said.
Just one day later, Johnson started for the first time since the season opener. It seems the starting lineup could continue to fluctuate, no matter the team’s record.
2. Consecutive wins. Early in the season, Maryland could not close out games, drawing four of its first five. But now, the Terps have won back-to-back games, gaining momentum heading into their final non-conference game on Sunday.
Morales talked about how these last few wins have been pushing the team in the right direction, saying, “I think we’re on the uphill climb.”
3. Season debuts. Holding a comfortable 2-0 lead, Nemzer was able to clear the bench in the final few minutes. Senior midfielder Maggie Fralin, sophomore midfielder Symone Jenson, sophomore midfielder Olivia Ozbolt and freshman defender Brooke Birrell all made their Maryland debuts Tuesday night.