Nebraska’s Meg Brandt ran up the left seam towards the goal, splitting a pair of Maryland women’s soccer defenders, and received a through ball from Marissa Popoola and ran after it.
With a goal in her pocket already, Brandt sped after the pass and didn’t take a touch. Instead, her first contact with the ball was a left-footed strike past Terps goalkeeper Erin Seppi to give her team a 2-0 lead in the 37th minute.
Maryland (7-5-2, 3-3 Big Ten) could never make up the deficit, falling 2-0 to Nebraska (4-8-2, 3-4 ) Friday night.
Entering play, the Cornhuskers had averaged just 0.62 goals per game, second-worst in the Big Ten. They failed to meet their 11.54 shots per game average, but that didn’t matter, as two of their eight shots hit the twine.
The Terps were coming off their highest-scoring game of the season — a 6-2 beatdown of Illinois this past Sunday. That included a two-goal effort from leading scorer Alyssa Poarch, who has paced the team in goals with eight thus far in 2019.
Nebraska’s defensive gameplan seemed to be to contain Poarch, not giving her any room to operate the entire night. The redshirt sophomore managed just to register just one shot, which sailed wide of the goal.
Poarch was ultimately subbed out of the game in the 65th minute in favor of Keyera Wynn, perhaps in an effort to open up the offense. If that was Maryland head coach Ray Leone’s intent, it did not work, as the Terps continued to be stymied on the attack.
Leone put Poarch back on the field with 12 minutes remaining, but any effort to jump-start the offense failed, as the Terps didn’t register a shot for the rest of the game.
When the final whistle blew, Maryland had just five shots to show for its efforts, the lowest figure of the season to this point. Three offsides calls didn’t help them, and it was ultimately a disappointing showing for the Terps following their biggest win of the season.
Three things to know
1. Meg Brandt came to play. Entering Friday night’s game, Meg Brandt had taken 26 shots — most on the team — but hadn’t put a ball in the back of the net. So it was only right that her first shot of the game in the 4th minute against Maryland beat keeper Erin Seppi to give the Cornhuskers the early lead.
Her quick strike gave Nebraska, which has struggled mightily this season, a little breathing room from the jump, and the home team never relinquished its advantage on the scoreboard. Just over 30 minutes later, Brandt added on her second goal of the game, giving the Cornhuskers the insurance they never needed to cash in.
2. Erin Seppi didn’t record a first-half save. Nebraska outshot Maryland by a 5-4 margin in the first half, however, each side landed two shots on goal. Seppi had missed the last two games due to an illness, but prior to her absence, the senior had played well — on the season, she posted a .738 save percentage. In the first half on Friday, she faced just two shots on goal. Seppi let both find the back of the net.
3. Maryland missed out on a program record. With three conference wins so far this season, the Terps had a chance to set a program record for most Big Ten victories. Against a 3-8-2 Nebraska team, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for Maryland to hit that next tier as a team. Obviously, a victory eluded them on Friday night, and the Terps’ next opportunity will come on Sunday at Iowa.