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Maryland women’s soccer vs. No. 12 Ohio State preview

The Terps hope to snap a two-game scoring drought.

womens soccer Photo by Maryland Athletics

Currently on a two-game losing and scoreless streak, Maryland women’s soccer will try to turn its season around against No. 12 Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have had a tremendous season thus far, outscoring Big Ten opponents 13-1 through seven games. The Terps, meanwhile, have totaled just one goal in their last three games and are dealing with continued injuries that began hurting the team in August.

Maryland welcomes Ohio State to College Park on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, and BTN Plus will have the broadcast.

No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2-1, 6-1-0 Big Ten)

2016 record: 11-7-3, 4-4-2 Big Ten

Head coach Lori Walker-Hock. In her 21st season as head coach, Walker-Hock has built Ohio State into one of the nation’s best teams. Under her guidance, the Buckeyes have made 11 of the last 15 NCAA tournaments, and have totaled 237 wins. Additionally, Walker-Hock is a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year award winner.

Players to Watch

Sammy Edwards, senior, forward, No. 19. In her four seasons at Ohio State, Edwards has been one of the Buckeyes’ best players. She’s scored at least five goals in each season, including a career and team-high seven this season. Her 19 points, 21 shots-on-goal and three game-winning goals also lead the team this season.

Eleanor Gabriel, senior, forward, No. 8. Gabriel has endured a breakout season in 2017 after coming into the season battling injuries and totaling one assist through three seasons. The senior has scored four goals and 10 points this year, both second on the team. Additionally, her shot percentage of 21 percent leads the team among players with at least six shots.

Devon Kerr, junior, goalkeeper, No. 1. This season, Kerr has established herself as one of the best goalkeepers in the country. She only allows .448 goals per game, which is ranked 11th in the country and second in the Big Ten. Additionally, she has completed eight shutouts this season, which is tied for seventh in the country and second in the Big Ten.

Strength

Goal prevention. With Kerr leading the way, Ohio State has been on of the toughest defensive teams in the country. The Buckeyes are only allowing .412 goals-a-game, which is ranked 10th in the nation, and its nine shutouts in 14 games is tied for 13th in the country.

Goal scoring. While not as strong as its defense, Ohio State’s offense has been very productive as well. The Buckeyes have scored 28 goals this season, tied for 39th among over 300 teams in the country, and their average of two goals-per-game is tied for 44th.

Weakness

Fouls. Despite a strong season, Ohio State has had trouble with discipline at times this year. The Buckeyes have totaled 136 fouls in four games, an average of 9.71 fouls-per-game which is tied for 217 in the country. In contrast, Ohio State’s opponents have totaled 126 fouls in 14 goals for an average of nine fouls-per-game.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Who plays for Maryland? With injuries and Ray Leone’s preference to mix-and-match, the Terps lineups for each game have been a mystery all season. Jlon Flippens and Gi Krstec have missed each of the last three games, giving opportunities to other players on the bench but hurting offensive production. If Maryland wants to compete with the best team in the conference, it needs everybody it can get.
  2. Can Maryland score? The Terps haven’t scored in over 225 minutes of play, and they have scored one total goal in their last 270 minutes. Even if relatively healthy, Maryland will be facing an uphill battle, attempting to break out of their slump while taking on a top defensive team.
  3. Can Rachel Egyed carry the team? Maryland’s best chance to pull off the upset is if Egyed goes toe-to-toe with Kerr, making Ohio State earn every scoring chance. The Terps goalkeeper has been their best player this season, and she needs to continue her play to give Maryland a chance moving forward.