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Maryland women’s soccer didn’t see the progress it hoped for in 2018

The Terps improved in some ways, but still have offensive issues they need to sort out in 2019.

Lila Bromberg-Testudo Times

After improving to 7-8-3 last season following 2016’s 3-15-1 campaign, 2018 looked like the year Maryland women’s soccer could continue to build and get over the .500 mark for the first time since 2012. That didn’t happen. Even though Maryland fared better in conference play this year, the Terps won three fewer games overall to finish at 4-10-5.

Here’s what worked and what didn’t this season, as well as what to expect in 2019.

Things that went well

One of the strong points for the Terps this season was their stout defense. Despite having to play with an often stagnant offense, Maryland’s back line was able to do its part to keep the team in games.

Statistically, the Terrapin defense was under attack more in 2018, but still put up better numbers in terms of limiting goals than it did in 2017. Last season, Maryland faced 213 shots in 18 matches, allowing 25 in all. This year, the Terps faced 288 shots and only allowed 22 goals, improving a 1.39 opponent goals-per-game rate down to only 1.16.

A lot of that improvement can be attributed to goalkeeper Rachel Egyed, who finished off her impressive Maryland career with her best season statistically since she’s been in College Park. Although she split time with junior Erin Seppi in four games, Egyed was able to hit new career bests in saves (93), save percentage (.830), and goals-against average (1.12). She finished top three in the Big Ten in half of the major goalkeeping statistics, and was named third team All-Big Ten.

Jarena Harmon also improved from 2017 to 2018, although her team-leading six goals this season weren’t so much of an improvement as they were a return to form. Last year, she scored just once in 16 matches after scoring seven and eight goals in her freshman and sophomore seasons. But in 2018 she looked like the Harmon of old, serving as the team’s most efficient finisher around the goal.

While Harmon got most of the glory offensively, redshirt freshman Alyssa Poarch showed a lot of potential. The young forward only scored two goals this year, but her 43 shots and 16 shots on goal led the team by a wide margin. It’ll be interesting to see how she carries her play into 2019 given her strong season and Harmon’s departure as a primary goal-scorer.

Things that didn’t go well

Despite the few bright spots scattered among the Terrapin offense, the attack held the team back this season. Maryland’s attack was just as ineffective as it was last year, as the Terps again only scored 16 goals over the 19-game season.

Part of the reason for the low scoring for the season was multiple lengthy scoreless droughts. In non-conference play, Maryland only scored one goal over its final five games. The Terps improved slightly in Big Ten play, picking up impressive wins over Iowa and then No. 14 Northwestern, but only had two multi-goal performances during the 11-game conference slate.

Maryland’s scoring struggles were compounded by the team’s inability to perform consistently on the road. In nine away games, the Terps finished 0-6-3, scoring just four goals in the process. This is down from the three road wins they picked up last season despite only notching six away goals.

Who’s leaving

The Terps only graduate four seniors, but all of them were important contributors.

Egyed’s time in goal for Maryland is over, leaving a large void at the back end of the defense that will likely be filled by rising senior Erin Seppi. Even though Seppi played well with the time she was given, replacing Egyed will be difficult.

Two of the more active forwards for the team will also be graduating, as neither Harmon nor Kady Badham will be with the team next season. While Harmon’s contributions scoring will obviously be missed, Badham’s presence will be hard to replace too. She was listed as a forward, but ended up being a Swiss Army knife of a player that could serve as a defender and midfielder as well. She also showed an aptitude to play the ball down the sideline and probe for opportunities to play the ball into the box.

The final departing senior was another one of the mainstays of the Maryland defense. Jenna Surdick appeared in all 19 games for Maryland this season, finishing fifth on the team minutes played. Her teammates referred to her as a calming presence for the defensive unit.

Who’s staying

The good news for the Terps is that most of the team will be returning. The young Maryland squad will be bringing back several key playmakers that figure to be important contributors again. The two most important returners are midfielders Hope Lewandoski and Darby Moore. Both were heavily involved in the the team’s offensive buildup play and will have the opportunity to assume more of the scoring load with Harmon leaving.

Also returning at the midfield position will be rising juniors Malikae Dayes and Anissa Mose. Both players played in the same kind of multi purpose role as Badham, as their versatility definitely played a role in them playing in every game this season. If anything, the Maryland midfield will, for the most part, remain intact.

One player who Terps fans didn’t see this year but should make an impact next season is midfielder Jlon Flippens. She appeared in 14 matches and started all but one of those for Maryland in 2017, contributing two goals and three assists in a little over 1300 minutes. Flippens was sidelined for all of 2018 with an injury, but will be adding her ability as a shot creator to what will already be a very deep corps of midfielders.

Finally, the biggest change from this season to next will be Seppi replacing Egyed in goal. In the limited action she saw in the early parts of the season, Seppi made eight saves in five matches with a 0.93 goals-against average. It will be the first time since she’s been a Terp that she won’t be playing behind Egyed, so how she responds to being the starting goalkeeper will likely have a significant effect on how Maryland fares in 2019.