After what seemed like an eternity, Maryland women’s soccer came through when it counted most late in Sunday’s contest against NJIT. After 100 minutes of scoreless play, the teams went to double overtime, and that is when midfielder Hope Lewandoski came into the spotlight.
With six minutes remaining, the junior took a cross and netted Maryland’s third goal of the season to give them a 1-0 victory and a two-win start to the 2019 season.
“This was definitely a very hard fought game.” Lewandoski said. “We worked through a lot of problems on the field and I’m just grateful that we were able to put it in the back of the net.”
The Terrapins are no stranger to overtime games after competing in eight in 2018, five of which ended in a tie after double overtime. But this time around the Terps took their first overtime victory since 2017.
“We’re not walking away from this game without winning.” Sefcik said. “Every single opportunity we’re going to get it on frame, on net and we’re going to finish one of them.”
And while it got the victory, Maryland didn’t make the most of its opportunities. It’s been the theme of this young season thus far for the Terps, who scored two goals but were very inefficient in the season opener against Georgia Southern. Maryland controlled the tempo of the contest in the first 45 minutes, putting up all 10 shots in the half, but couldn’t take the lead early on Sunday.
With only 0.84 goals per game in 2018, Maryland is trying to avoid the same fate as last season. In their first contest Thursday night against Georgia Southern, the Terps scored two goals in the win but took 20 shots and had six corner kick opportunities. The first goal came just minutes after the first whistle by redshirt sophomore Alyssa Poarch. The game winner was by junior Mikayla Dayes in the second half.
“It’s a good relationship.” coach Ray Leone said. “They’re looking for each other instead of being solo and that’s what makes a tandem work.”
Dayes, who aims to be an offensive leader this season, only played 22 minutes of the first half. She put a shot on goal 26 seconds into the contest, giving NJIT goalkeeper Molly Saylor her first of eight saves.
Forward Emily McNesby also added some firepower against the Highlander defense - the sophomore had three shots on goal in six total shots off the bench. McNesby saw some action in the team’s first game and had one shot.
On the other side of the ball, NJIT continued to struggle on the attack in their second consecutive game without leading scorer Fiona Wright. A season ago, the forward had an outstanding year, posting 11 goals in her freshman campaign, but she’s yet to see the field in 2019 due to a leg injury. After finishing their first game in a 0-0 draw, the Highlanders played an entirely defensive first half against Maryland, getting off only four shots in the contest.
Three Things to Know
- Maryland has three goals off 44 shots this season. After two straight games of heavy offense for Maryland, the team has failed multiple times to net shots. The Terps are still looking for an offensive leader, and with various opportunities, goals have been sparse for the team.
“I’m not discouraged at all because our shots have been on target.” Leone said. “You just got to make the goalkeeper do something, and we made both the goalkeepers do a lot.”
2. NJIT had one shot on goal in the game. The Highlanders went the whole first half without a single shot, and didn’t do much to fix their mistakes in the second frame. In a defensively heavy game, NJIT only made Maryland goalkeeper Erin Seppi work once in the contest.
3. The Terps haven’t lost in 2019. Although the offense has struggled, Maryland survived opening weekend without suffering a loss. Defense has been key for the Terps, with the only goal given up in the season being an own goal against Georgia Southern.
“I see a bright future.” Sefcik said. “We just have to keep our mindset straight going into every game.”
“I’m really proud of them because they stuck with it.” Leone said. “Overtime is always pressure, it’s next goal wins and that’s it. Soccer’s soccer, you never know.”