After playing a talented Ohio State team to a draw, Maryland women’s soccer will need to pick up wins in its final two matches of the season.
The Terps currently find themselves on the outside looking in in terms of the Big Ten tournament. With a 2-5-2 record thus far in the Big Ten, Maryland is sitting at 12th in the standings. However, the Terps are just five points behind Iowa and Minnesota, the two teams tied for the seventh seed. So there’s a chance, but they’ll need help.
First, Maryland needs Minnesota to lose out. Given that Iowa plays Northwestern—which is one of the teams standing in the Terps’ way—on Sunday, the best-case scenario for Maryland would be Iowa winning their final two games to lock up the No. 7 seed, leaving the 8-spot up to either Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, Indiana, Michigan, or Maryland.
The next part of what Maryland needs is where things get a bit tricky. As mentioned, Northwestern, Michigan and Indiana stand between Maryland and the eighth tournament spot, and will also have to all lose out. So for games happening Thursday, Indiana will have to lose to Penn State and Northwestern will have to lose to Illinois, so keep an eye on that.
The good news for Maryland is that they will play two of the three teams ahead of them this weekend, so the Terps will at least partially control their own destiny.
Michigan (7-8-1, 3-5-1 B1G)
Thursday, 7 p.m. ET, BTN Plus
Michigan will be entering play Thursday night after losing 1-0 to Iowa last Sunday, a game in which the Wolverines couldn’t even register a shot on goal. (Maryland defeated Iowa 4-0 earlier this season, for whatever that’s worth.) So although Michigan’s overall record is better than Maryland’s, the Wolverines have experienced some of the same struggles in Big Ten play as the Terps, setting up for a match up that should be even matched.
The only catch is that the game will be played in Ann Arbor, which means Maryland will have to win on the road to keep its season alive. The Terps have yet to win a game on the road this season, with their road record sitting at 0-5-3. So while they’ve been able to earn a few draws away from home, none of the other corresponding results that need to happen will matter if they do anything but win this game.
But things are at least slightly looking up for Maryland in terms of play on the road, as they actually scored their first road goal of the season in their last match at Ohio State, which might at the very least get the lid off the rim for the Terps’ attack when playing on the road.
Indiana (7-7-2, 3-6-0 B1G)
Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, BTN Plus
Indiana enters this game after having lost six of its last seven matches, coming off a double-overtime loss to Illinois this past Sunday. But the one catch with this Hoosiers team is that they can score at will—despite the fact that they’re currently 11th in the Big Ten standings, they’ve scored a league-high 15 goals in conference play. However, they allow just as many goals as they score, leading the Big Ten in goals allowed for the season as well.
The element of this game that could swing it in Maryland’s favor is that the match will be played at home. Not only has Maryland been far better at home (3-3-2) compared to its play on the road, but should everything go the way it needs to for this game to be the decider as to whether or not Maryland makes the tournament, there’s little doubt that Maryland will come with everything they have in this game.