The welcome back party for Jlon Flippens is still in session.
The Maryland women’s soccer defender is back after missing over a year with an ACL tear, and she’s definitely making up for the lost time. She played a crucial role for the Terps in their 2-0 win over Minnesota Sunday, assisting on both goals.
The assists were her third and fourth points of the 2019 season, despite having played in just three games.
“She’s calm, she’s experienced and people know to trust her with the ball,” coach Ray Leone said. “It was really good for her to get out there and take a gamble.”
The Gophers outshot the Terps 17-16, but Maryland managed to get eight of its shots on goal, compared to Minnesota’s mere three shots on cage.
Flippens’ contributions helped the Terps break a bad cycle against the Gophers. Maryland went into Sunday’s contest 0-4 against the Minnesota since joining the Big Ten in 2014, outscored 13-1 in those meetings.
“Slowing the game down a bit helps us keep the ball, being patient,” Flippens said. “The last thing we want to do is get pushed around.”
In the seventh minute, the senior found forward Mikayla Dayes off a free kick in the box. Dayes controlled the ball off her body, wound up and shot a dart past the Gopher goalkeeper with her right foot to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.
Then just a minute into the second period, Flippens got a breakaway to set up leading scorer Alyssa Poarch up for her fifth goal of the season. With defenders draped around her, the defender sent a cross to the forward, who dribbled a roller into the bottom of the net for a 2-0 Maryland lead.
“We’re just trying to focus on finishing every chance we get,” Dayes said. “And just capitalizing on those chances.”
The two goals would carry the Terps to their fifth win of the season, surpassing last season’s total with nine games still remaining. All five victories have come at home for Maryland, but now the homestead comes to an end. The Terps hit the road for their next two games, looking for their first road win in two years.
Three things to know
- Maryland shined on Senior Day. Eight players were honored for their contribution to the team on Senior Day, and six appeared in the starting lineup. Andy Wenck made her first career start in goal and earned one save in her time on the field. Flippens shined as the senior of the day with her two points.
“That emotional aspect, just remembering that first day we were all on campus,” Flippens said. “Our teammates did a great job making today special.”
2. The Terps win their first Big Ten game of the year. The Terps came back from a tough loss in their last contest against Wisconsin with the win Sunday. The victory is Maryland’s ninth in conference play in the last five seasons. With a tough road schedule on the horizon, the Terps will look to pick up a few more to make a postseason push.
“It was definitely a great rebound from Friday, and we have to keep the momentum going,” Flippens said. “We can do great things, we just have to do them together.”
3. Maryland’s attackers can get it done. Senior Jarena Harmon was the only player with more than two goals in 2018. This season, two players have already surpassed that total. Poarch and Mikayla Dayes, who each scored in the contest, continue to improve on their low goal total last season. Poarch has the team-lead with five, with Dayes close behind with four of her own.
“It’s starting to come together, they know how each other plays,” Leone said. “They inspire each other, and it’s been pretty good for us so far.”