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Maryland men’s soccer extends shutout streak to 4 games with 2-0 win over Penn State

The Terps win their first conference road match.

Gabe Fernandez / Testudo Times

It took just seven minutes out of halftime for Maryland men’s soccer to break a 0-0 tie with Rutgers on Tuesday, en route to a 3-0 win.

Against Penn State, it took just five.

Sebastian Elney’s one-time finish in front of the net in the 50th minute opened the scoring against the Nittany Lions, helping the Terps toward a 2-0 victory in their first road game in 23 days.

The Terps dominated the possession in the first 45 minutes, but Maryland entered halftime facing a 0-0 draw for the third straight match. The Terps still haven’t seen a first-half goal since Sept. 4 against Cal Poly.

Even though Maryland’s early attacks didn’t generate any goals, the Terps quickly broke the Penn State defense shortly into the second half. Jake Rozhansky played a ball out wide to Eryk Williamson, who sent a sharp cross into the middle of the box. All it took was Elney to stick his foot out for the ball to trickle over the goal line for a 1-0 lead.

Maryland pressured the Nittany Lions backline from the start of the game, getting off three shots in the first 20 minutes. Forward Gordon Wild, who scored twice in the Terps’ 3-0 win against Rutgers on Tuesday, nearly assisted on two first-half goals, but both shots on goal were saved. Wild tried to score himself later in the half, but both of his attacks were called back for offsides.

Even though it was the Terps’ first road match in three weeks, their lockdown defense traveled with them to earn a fourth consecutive clean sheet. Rozhansky cleared a header from Penn State’s Sam Bollinger off the goal line in the 37th minute, narrowly preserving Maryland’s shutout streak.

While the Nittany Lions tried to respond to Maryland’s high-pressured offense, their counter-attacks were met with limited shot opportunities. Donovan Pines, who only played nine minutes on Tuesday, returned to the starting lineup at center back with Johannes Bergmann. The pair of defenders played exceptionally well, clearing away any chances at an equalizing goal.

With the help Chase Gasper and George Campbell, the outside backs, the Terps conceded just two shot after conceding just three on Tuesday. With another shutout, Maryland’s shutout streak is now at over 397 minutes.

The Terps played with a one-man advantage for the last 17 minutes of the game after Ethan Beckford received a red card in the 73rd minute. Williamson had just the goalkeeper to beat in the 88th minute, as he knocked in a game-sealing goal. Penn State nearly headed in a game-tying goal with under six minutes left, but it missed wide right before Williamson’s attack.

The No. 3 Terps will be back on the road this Friday at 7 p.m. against No. 6 Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan.

Three things to know

1. The shutout streak is now approaching 400 minutes. Maryland still hasn’t allowed a goal since the first day of this month against UCLA. The Terps had six shutouts last season, and now they already have five this year with 10 regular season matches left to play. Dayne St. Clair didn’t have to make a single save Sunday, as Penn State’s two shots missed the frame. The backline of Campbell, Bergmann, Gasper and Pines continued to play near-flawless defense.

2. The score hardly reflected the overall performance. Maryland only won by two goals, but it could’ve been more. The Terps controlled the pace of the entire game and only allowed two shots on defense. It was Maryland’s first road match in over three weeks, so the Terps might’ve gotten used to the Ludwig Field atmosphere after playing in College Park for the last five games. It was also the first conference away game, which aren’t easy wins against anyone.

3. The Terps face a tough ranked road test Friday. After playing two ranked opponents at home, Maryland will take on No. 6 Michigan State on Friday in East Lansing. Along with Indiana, the Spartans will be a top contender to take away Maryland’s streak of Big Ten titles. The Terps beat a ranked Michigan State team 2-0 last season at home.