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Maryland women’s soccer vs. Penn State preview

The Terps’ will have a tough time breaking their scoreless streak.

Jlon Flippens Gabe Fernandez/ Testudo Times

Despite looking improved last game, Maryland women’s soccer is still looking for its first goal in two weeks as Penn State visits College Park. The Nittany Lions enter the game second in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, and coming off a scoreless draw vs. Rutgers.

Last year, Penn State came to Ludwig Field and shut the Terps out 3-0 in the middle of Maryland’s nine game losing streak.

Maryland and Penn State will face off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and BTN Plus will have the broadcast.

No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-3-2, 5-1-2 Big Ten)

2016 record: 12-5-4, 7-1-3 Big Ten

Head coach Erica Dambach. This year is Dambach’s 11th season as Penn State’s head coach, highlighted by a national championship in 2015. Dambach has a career record of 218-86-19, including going 92-16-8 in conference play, with a winning record in each season. She has also been a U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach and the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team head coach.

Players to Watch

Megan Schafer, senior, forward, No. 4. For the past four seasons, Schafer has been a force on offense, totaling 30 goals and 77 points in that span. This season, she leads the team with five goals and 13 points, and she has started 49 of the 52 games in which she’s played since 2015.

Emily Ogle, redshirt junior, midfielder, No. 10. Like Schafer, Ogle has been a rock offensively over the past three seasons. The redshirt junior has started 65 games since 2015, compiling 14 total goals and 41 total points. In 2017, she’s second on the team with four goals, but her 63.5 percent shot-on-goal percentage leads the team among players with more than one shot.

Rose Chandler, redshirt junior, goalkeeper, No. 30. Chandler has started in 13 games for Penn State this season, only allowing nine total goals. She is top 50 in the country in goal-against average, only allowing .692 goals per game, and has played in all but 150 minutes in 2017. In Big Ten play this season, Chandler has only allowed one goal in seven games, averaging just 0.14 goals in about 637 minutes of play.

Strengths

Goal prevention. Led by Chandler, Penn State has stifled opposing offenses. The Nittany Lions are allowing .682 goals-per-game, which ranks 37th in the country, and they have allowed one goal or less in 11 of their 14 games this season, and have allowed just two goals since conference play began.

Goal scoring. While Penn State’s defense has been its stronger unit, its offense has been good as well. The Nittany Lions have totaled 26 goals this season, including 12 in Big Ten games, and lead the conference in shots with 129.

Weaknesses

None. Really, this team doesn’t seem to have any glaring weakness. Penn State isn’t very physical, averaging just 6.79 fouls per game, and has done a nice job at earning corner kicks, averaging 5.93 per game. This is as complete a team as you will find in the country.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Can Maryland build off last game? Despite a 2-0 loss to Ohio State, the Terps looked much improved from their difficult road trip as Jlon Flippens returned to the lineup. Now, they must play the other top team in the conference, but having already played a top 15 team in Ohio State should give Maryland a better chance to try and compete with Penn State.
  2. Can Maryland avoid an early deficit? A common theme in Maryland’s losing streak has been the Terps allowing a goal early in the game, forcing them to dig out of a hole. With the offense struggling, Maryland's defense needs to give it some confidence by avoiding that early deficit, giving the offense more time to try and score the first goal of the game.
  3. How long will the scoreless streak last? In 2016, the Terps finished the season on a six-game scoreless streak, and they risk suffering the same fate this season. However, the Terps are finally getting somewhat healthy with Flippens and Gi Krstec back, giving them a better chance to avoid repeating that same scoreless stretch.