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Maryland women’s soccer vs. Gardner-Webb preview

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The Terps look to continue their hot start in their first road game of 2017.

Women's soccer Michigan

The last time Maryland started the season 3-0 was 2013 when the school was still a member of the ACC.

In fact, that was also the last time the Terps had a three-game winning streak, eventually winning each of its first four games. This year, Maryland looks to start 3-0 and earn a three-game winning streak for the first time as a member of the Big Ten when they face Gardner-Webb in North Carolina.

The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m ET Friday evening, and live streaming will be available here.

Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs (0-2)

2016 record: 9-8-3, 6-3 Big South

Head coach Mike Varga. This is only his second season as head coach of Gardner-Webb, but Varga previously lead teams at two other universities for a combined 19 years of experience in the Big South. Most notably, he was head coach at South Alabama from 1999-2012, winning 121 games in that span.

Players to Watch

Samuelle Grove, junior, forward, No. 14. In her first two seasons at Gardner-Webb, Grove totaled seven goals and three assists through 39 games. She’s played in every game since joining the team as a freshman, starting all but three matches.

Keely Brown, senior, goalkeeper, No. 32. Brown has been Gardner-Webb’s starting goalkeeper since the beginning of the 2015 season, playing well over 3,000 minutes in net. Over the last two years, Brown allowed an average of 1.21 goals per game with a save percentage around 80 percent.

Strength

Defense. In 19 games last season, Gardner-Webb allowed one goal or fewer 11 times, including five shutouts. Additionally, the team allowed three goals just once in 2016. However, despite not allowing four goals at any point last year, the Runnin Bulldogs have already done so this year, opening the season with a 4-0 loss to Davidson.

Weakness

Offense. Only two games into the 2017 season, Gardner-Webb has already gotten shut out twice, being outscored 5-0 in two games. Last year, the team scored one goal or fewer 14 times in 19 games, totaling 21 goals over the entire season.

Three things to watch

  1. Can Maryland improve upon last year’s meeting? In 2016, these two teams played to a 1-1 draw in College Park, with Chelsea Jackson being the lone scorer for the Terps. The game highlighted where this program was at the time, as the team struggled to defeat a Big South team. With a year having passed, Maryland’s play should improve just like the program has.
  2. How aggressive will Maryland be? Facing a team as offensively weak and defensively strong as Gardner-Webb, the Terps will probably look to score early and often. With the defense playing well, coming off the team’s first shutout in two years, expect Maryland to lean on its offense.
  3. How much will Rachel Egyed be tested? Egyed’s strong performance last time out should carry over to the road trip. By playing a team that only had two active players with multiple goals scored last season, Egyed shouldn’t have much of a challenge on Friday.