Down one goal to Wisconsin at halftime Friday, Maryland women’s soccer was hoping to mount a comeback to start Big Ten play off on the right foot.
But any chance of that vanished quickly.
Badgers forward Lauren Rice took a pass into the box and finessed her way around Terps goalkeeper Erin Seppi for an easy goal five minutes into the second half. Less than a minute later, forward Dani Rhodes gave Wisconsin another goal on a close shot.
It was too big of a hole for Maryland to climb out of, and the Badgers held on to hand the Terps a 3-0 loss.
“We made a lot of errors, some forced by Wisconsin’s good plays and some just our own choices,” coach Ray Leone said. “We put the ball in some really bad spots and it cost us.”
Maryland had never allowed more than two goals against the Badgers in previous meetings since joining the Big Ten, but that didn’t translate to Friday’s match. It was also the Terps’ first loss to Wisconsin in three years after back-to-back draws.
Maryland, who had surpassed 10 shots in each of its last five games, struggled to find opportunities on the attack. The team’s nine shots were tied for its lowest of the season.
“It didn’t fall our way, it took too long to get into the game,” midfielder Darby Moore said. “When we picked up our mentality and we were playing well, we were playing with them, but it just took too long to get there.”
The Badgers gave the Terps’ defense trouble throughout the match, tallying 20 shots, 17 of which were on goal. They fired five consecutive shots to start the afternoon, with the fifth turning into an early 1-0 lead as forward Payton Wesley drove down the field untouched and slipped a grounder past Seppi.
“We didn’t come out as sharp as we wanted to,” Seppi said. “They did have possession of the ball for most of the time, our back line did as much as they could today.”
The tone of the game was set in the first half, as Wisconsin controlled the ball for 61 percent of the period. The last 45 minutes were no different for the Badgers with their second goal coming just five minutes after the break and the third 60 seconds later to put the game away.
Three things to know
- The Big Ten is a different animal. Since the Terps joined the Big Ten in 2014, they have won just eight matches. Wisconsin was ranked third in the conference preseason poll, and it showed its dominance with a huge victory in the first conference match of the year. The Terps were ranked as the 13th-best team in the poll, and they’ll likely be underdogs in almost every game for the rest of 2019.
- The Terps are no longer undefeated at home. Maryland held a 4-0-1 record in College Park before Friday’s game. The Badgers’ rout at Ludwig spoiled an unbeaten stretch for the Terps that they started in the first half of the season. After Sunday’s game against Minnesota, Maryland will hit the road for two consecutive matchups.
- They have some Power Five trouble. In three games against teams from a power conference, Maryland has allowed 12 goals without responding with one of its own. Matches against Auburn and Georgia resulted in second half blowouts, and that trend held true against Wisconsin. The Terps will only face teams from the Big Ten to close out the season, with 10 games remaining.
“We came out slow, and against a team like that, you can’t come out slow,” Moore said. “They capitalized on it, and you can’t do that in the Big Ten.”