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Maryland women’s soccer hits the road for two SEC matches this weekend

The Terps play away games for the first time this season.

Maryland women’s soccer Alyssa Poarch Maryland Athletics

Maryland women’s soccer is packing its bags and heading down to the Peach State for a two-game weekend tournament against the SEC’s Auburn and Georgia in the Bulldog Classic. The Terps are coming off a thrilling 1-0 double-overtime win against NJIT on Sunday, setting their record at 2-0 in 2019.

The Terps have taken a total of 44 shots in the first two games of the season, but only converted on three of those opportunities. In Sunday’s game against the Highlanders, Maryland put up 24 shots, six of which came from sophomore Emily McNesby off the bench and five more from offensive star Alyssa Poarch. Only after 103 minutes could Maryland pull through and score a goal to win the game — a cross to Hope Lewandoski in the box sealed the win late.

And while Maryland picked up the win on Sunday, it lost a player. Senior Niven Hegeman suffered a torn ACL in the contest against NJIT and will likely miss the remainder of the season. The midfielder started in 15 games in 2018.

The first matchup for Maryland in Athens, Georgia, this weekend comes against the Tigers of Auburn at 3:30 p.m. Friday. This will be the first SEC contest for the Terps since they took down Alabama 2-1 in 2012. A win against Auburn would give Maryland its second 3-0 start in the last three seasons.

Auburn Tigers (0-1, 0-0 SEC)

2018: 12-6-2

Auburn is one of the most successful programs in the Southeastern Conference and is a consistent NCAA Tournament team. The Tigers have posted a winning record and reached the tournament in each of the last five seasons, feats that Maryland’s first two opponents haven’t come close to accomplishing.

This season, however, Auburn has had a tough go of it. In their first game on Aug. 22, the Tigers lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to No. 14 South Florida. After giving up a goal within the first four minutes of play, Auburn played the Bulls tight up until the very end. In the 89th minute, South Florida put one in the back of the net, erasing all hope of the Tigers’ opening night upset.

The team’s second game of the season against Florida Gulf Coast was suspended due to weather conditions, hindering the Tigers from playing before this weekend.

Players to know

Bri Folds, senior midfielder, No. 4 — Folds is the Tigers’ top returning scorer. She started 19 games in 2018, notching nine goals and seven assists. On a team that logged over 40 goals in the season, more than two per game, the First Team All-SEC selection will lead the attack against the Terps.

Treva Aycock, senior forward, No. 28 — Aycock is one of four players returning for Auburn who started all 20 games last season. In her first season after transferring from Furman, the Georgia native scored seven goals and added six assists, earning her a spot on the All-SEC second team.

Angeline Daly, redshirt sophomore midfielder, No. 44 — Daly had the third-most minutes played in 2018, reaching over the 1,500 minute mark. After transferring from Florida State, the midfielder shined in her first season on the attack for Auburn, scoring five goals in 20 starts. Daly has also participated with four different U.S. women’s national teams (U15 twice, U18 and most recently U19).

Georgia Bulldogs (1-1, 0-0 SEC)

2018: 4-9-5

Maryland’s second matchup of the weekend will be against the host team, the Georgia Bulldogs on Sunday at noon. Like the Terps, Georgia has struggled in recent seasons, only winning four games in each of the last two seasons.

This season, the Bulldogs started in a disappointing way, losing to Purdue in a 1-0 game. The team only produced seven shots, two of which were on goal. A goal in the 82’ by the Boilermakers spoiled a winning start to the season.

In its last contest, Georgia came out firing, totaling four goals in a shutout victory against Binghamton. The Bulldogs put up 12 shots and a goal in the first half, and in the second half they scored three goals on just nine shots. The Georgia defense held the Bearcats to one shot in the full 90 minutes.

Players to know

Reagan Glisson, junior forward, No. 34Glisson is Georgia’s returning leading scorer from 2018, when she netted seven goals in 18 games. The Savannah native picked up right where she left off this season, scoring one of the team’s four goals in the win against Binghamton. Glisson surely makes the most of her time on the field — in a mere 57 minutes against Charlotte a season ago, the lead attacker scored three goals in the game.

Cecily Stoute, sophomore defender, No. 24 — Georgia’s leading defender started 17 games in its last season and logged the most minutes played out of anyone on the team in her freshman campaign. Stoute, although not flashy on the stat sheet, is the Bulldogs’ premiere line of defense and has done a great job thus far in 2019 keeping balls away from the goal.

Abby Boyan, sophomore midfielder, No. 5Boyan is another key piece of Georgia’s young core. In her freshman season, she scored four goals and two assists — the second highest point total behind Glisson. The Garden State native logged over 1,400 minutes in 2018, and this year already earned her first point with an assist against Binghamton.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland win on the road? Although the Terps have been in the win column for their first two games of the season, they haven’t won on the road since September 2017. This long drought has been the biggest hurdle for Maryland to get over the .500 mark in a season, and taking the first road game of the year could prove that this season is different.

2. Will the Terps continue to pressure the ball? In the first two games, Maryland has 44 shots, but only three goals. That competition wasn’t nearly as fierce as what the Terps can expect this weekend, so it won’t be easy to keep controlling the ball and putting shots on goal. More than any point so far this season, they’ll need to make the most of their opportunities.

3. How will the Big Ten be represented in the Bulldog Classic? The Labor Day weekend tournament features three of the Power Five conferences in college sports. The Terps are the sole participant from the Big Ten Conference and will look to prove their worth in the early parts of the season. Virginia Tech from the ACC plays Auburn and Georgia over the weekend, both teams from the SEC.