Coming out of halftime in its first match of the Big Ten Tournament, Maryland women’s soccer was hoping to erase its one goal deficit on its biggest stage yet.
Instead, Michigan leading scorer Sarah Stratigakis blew by the Terrapins’ defense and sent a cross into the box to midfielder Meredith Haakenson, who sent a one-touch into the back of the net to put them down 2-0 lead in the 55th minute.
The Wolverines (14-4-1, 8-2-1 Big Ten) went on to defeat Maryland 3-0, putting an end to the Terrapins’ historic 2019 campaign in the first round of its first ever appearance in the tournament.
Maryland (9-7-3, 5-5-1) was a team that played with a chip on its shoulder day in and day out. Ranked 13th in the conference preseason poll, it wasn’t supposed to be at this point in the first place, but found a way to earn the sixth seed.
The team’s nine wins were the most since 2013 and the highest total since head coach Ray Leone took over four seasons ago. Their first Big Ten postseason appearance came up short, ending the team’s underdog run.
The Terrapins faced Michigan in their last regular season game a week ago, in which they dropped the contest 4-1. Maryland managed to put up just two shots in the full 90 minutes, but improved on the offensive end in the second go-around.
Maryland’s six shots all came up empty as none of them landed in the back of the net or even on goal to force a save.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, tallied 22 shots, 13 of which were on goal against Maryland goalkeeper Erin Seppi. The ball seemed to never leave the Wolverines’ attacking zone, creating more and more opportunities against a tired Maryland defense.
In the 35th minute of the contest, the Wolverines turned one of those opportunities into the first goal of the game.
A strike that rebounded off a diving Maryland goalkeeper Erin Seppi landed right in front of Michigan forward Danielle Wolfe. An easy look at an open goal put the Wolverines up 1-0 early in a one-sided game.
And the Terrapins couldn’t ever find their footing after the second goal, allowing a third in the final ten minutes and ending the season in its tracks.
Three things to know
1. Seppi ends on a high-note — In the senior goalkeeper’s final game in a Maryland uniform, Seppi came up big to keep her team in the game for the full 90 minutes. She faced 22 shots and finished with 10 saves in the contest, while conceding just three goals by a high-powered Michigan offense. Seppi’s performance on Sunday marked the third-highest saves of her senior campaign, coming off the most shots she’s faced this year.
2. Lack of offense costs the Terrapins — For the second straight game, the Terrapins struggled on the attack against the Michigan defense. Last Sunday, Maryland got off two shots, one of which was on goal. The team’s six shots in the postseason game all flew wide of the goal, halting any opportunities for a score.
3. Team of the future — Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Maryland will have eight of its 11 starters from Sunday returning for next year. A team driven by its young talent, Maryland will look to make yet another run in 2020 as the team’s top-two leading scorers will be on the attack.