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Maryland women’s soccer vs No. 20 Rutgers preview

After a four-game home stand, the Terps hit the road for their toughest opponent of the season.

Photo by Greg Flume / Maryland Athletics

Maryland women’s soccer is coming off its biggest win of the season against Minnesota on Sunday. A 2-0 finish gave the Terps their first Big Ten victory of the year and fifth win at Ludwig Field.

Leading scorers Alyssa Poarch and Mikayla Dayes shined in the win with one goal apiece, both of which were assisted by defender Jlon Flippens. The offensive performance is nothing new for the Terps, who had their third multi-goal shutout of the season.

The Terps are hitting the road for the first time since Sept. 8 to face off against their toughest opponent of the season, Rutgers. Winning on the road has been hard to come by for Maryland recently, as the team hasn’t picked up a win on the road since September 2017.

No. 20 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-1-1, 1-1 Big Ten)

2018: 11-4-5

The Scarlet Knights have been a dominating force in the Big Ten for a number of years, and 2019 is no different. Rutgers held the No. 13 spot in the national rankings until a 2-1 loss against Wisconsin in its last game spoiled an undefeated season.

Rutgers came into the year as the second-highest-ranked team in the conference, behind just Penn State. Its big wins came have come against No. 11 Tennessee and Minnesota, but the Scarlet Knights ended in a draw with Princeton — a team that Maryland defeated 3-0.

Players to know

Amirah Ali, junior forward No. 17 - The Scarlet Knights are led by Ali, one of the most dominant players in the nation. The New Jersey native took home a spot on the All-American Second Team in 2018. Last season, Ali scored a conference-high 10 goals in 19 appearances. In 2019, she already has six goals through just nine games.

Nneka Moneme, junior forward No. 15 - Rutgers’ second-leading scorer, Moneme, has scored five times on the season. With just three goals a year ago, she is making the most of her junior campaign thus far. In a win against Fordham, Moneme registered a hat trick.

Meagan McClelland, sophomore goalkeeper No. 1 - The 2018 Big Ten Freshman of the Year is doing big things in goal for Rutgers this season. In nine games, McClelland has notched six shutouts and 28 saves against opponents. Teams facing Rutgers have struggled to score, averaging only 0.43 goals per game when shooting on a McFlelland-defended net.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Can the Terps jump out early? In their last two wins, the Terps got on the scoreboard early with goals in the first minutes of action. Once Maryland finds the lead and a groove into the game, it’s been difficult for opposing teams to make a comeback. If the Terps can score first in New Jersey, they could be looking at their biggest win of the year.
  2. Will Maryland get it done on the road? Sept. 22, 2017 was the last day that Maryland women’s soccer came out victorious in a game that wasn’t played at Ludwig Field. A recent stretch of struggles have left the Terps without a chance to pick up big wins in the middle of the season.
  3. What can we see in the team’s toughest matchup? Maryland’s matchup with Rutgers will be its hardest game of the year as top-ranked Penn State escaped the Terps’ schedule. A road game with a loud atmosphere against a ranked opponent can be trouble for the Terps, but it could also be a huge momentum builder heading into the heart of conference play.