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Maryland women’s soccer looks to rebound against winless George Mason

The Terps have been outscored 9-0 in the past two games.

@TerpsWSoccer

The Terps are looking to bounce back in a big way in Thursday’s matchup against George Mason after getting shut out in consecutive games at the Bulldog Classic over the weekend. After dropping the opener to Auburn 4-0, Maryland failed to regain confidence on the attack, getting blown out 5-0 by the host school, Georgia, less than 48 hours later.

A group that started the year firing on all cylinders offensively seems to have cooled off as of late, with the Terrapins putting up 20 total shots over the weekend — less than half the number that they had in the first two contests.

“We’re still trying to figure out our best way to attack,” midfielder Darby Moore said. “There’s no denying we got exposed this weekend. I think the most important thing to do is to look forward to this game tomorrow.”

The back-to-back losses in Georgia continues a heartbreaking streak for Maryland, who has not won a game on the road in nearly two years. Back home for Thursday’s game, offensive leaders Alyssa Poarch and Mikayla Dayes will look to get the team back on track and back in the win column over the winless Patriots.

“We got to get our attack back, get our mojo back,” coach Ray Leone said. “We were flying through those first two games, these teams knocked us in the mouth and we have to respond.”

George Mason Patriots (0-2-1, 0-0 A-10)

2018: 14-6

Although George Mason hasn’t picked up its first win of 2019 just yet, people shouldn’t expect that to last long. The program hasn’t had a sub-500 season since 2014, capped off by a 14-win campaign a season ago.

This season has been a slow start for the Patriots, dropping their first two games to Old Dominion and Kentucky, followed by a 2-2 draw against Central Florida. With shots only coming far and few, George Mason has been taking advantage of good looks on net. In the last game, a total of seven shots resulted in two goals.

Players to know

Emma van der Vorst, sophomore forward No. 11 - The foreign phenom carried the Patriot team to great success in her freshman campaign last season. With a team high 14 goals, Vorst started all 20 games and has continued to start for the beginning of 2019. In three games thus far, the Netherlands native has one goal and two assists.

Morgan Symmers, redshirt senior goalkeeper No. 0 - On the other side of the ball, the Patriot’s veteran goalkeeper is back for her final season in the box. Symmers started 16 of 20 games last season and tallied 45 total saves. The team’s last line of defense has not been as sharp this season, allowing five goals through three games.

Kayla Hamric, junior forward No. 2 - As a sophomore in 2018, Hamric came off the bench for a majority of her appearances and still had the second highest goal total with three. This year, the Virginia native has come out hot, starting in all three games with one goal and two assists. Look for Hamric to be the deciding factor against the Terps if Vorst can’t get it going offensively.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland flip the switch on offense? Against two tough opponents over the weekend, the Terrapins had to focus on playing defensively for a majority of their time on the field, something they weren’t used to coming into the tournament. Going up against a George Mason team that has lacked a strong shot output, Maryland has to take control of the ball and keep it on the attack for 90 minutes if they want to win.

“We gotta know who they’re shooters are because they hit bombs.” Leone said. “Both of them were ridiculous. They’re opportunistic and we have to give them credit.”

2. How can the Terps respond to two straight blowouts? Last season, it took Maryland an average of 3.75 games to win again after dropping its first game following a loss. The Terps won their first two, but with two straight losses, they cannot fall into the same trap as last year if they want to finish close to .500

“We gotta know who they’re shooters are because they hit bombs.” Leone said. “Both of them were ridiculous. They’re opportunistic and we have to give them credit.”

3. Can Emma van der Vorst lead the Patriots to their first win of 2019? In a monumental year for the program last year, Vorst went on a tear from start to finish, totaling 14 goals in just her first collegiate season. In her second year on the pitch, the Patriots’ lead attacker can be big trouble for Maryland in a sure to be close matchup.

“I like to think that Maryland has always been defined by grit and resilience,” Moore said. “No matter how many blows you take you get back up and always have a fight in you.”