So far this season, the Maryland women’s soccer team has had its fair share of ups and downs. After an explosive start through the first two games of their 2019 campaign, the Terrapins were blown out and shut out this past weekend in two contests. Let’s take a look at the stats from the season that show where this Maryland team stands now.
When the Terps hit the road, they rarely find themselves in the win column. Since September 22, 2017, Maryland has yet to come out victorious in an away game, losing or tying in 15 straight contests.
“I don’t think they’re bothered by the atmosphere. I don’t think there are nerves,” coach Ray Leone said. “Lack of concentration and nerves are two different things.”
Traveling to six Big Tens games this season, the Terps will play in front of thousands day in and day out, looking for that first breakthrough win.
“On the road they’re not rattled by that,” Leone said. “They just have to perform.”
At the top of Maryland’s scoring list is a three way tie for first place at just one goal. With 2018’s leading scorer Jarena Harmon no longer on the roster after graduating, the Terps have yet to find an offensive leader to replace last year’s star attacker.
“We’re not turning the back line,” Leone said. “I think that’s something our group really has to recognize.”
The shots have definitely been there for Maryland, but very few balls have introduced themselves to the opponent’s back net. Through four games this season, the team has a total of three goals, each by a different player.
The Terps have been plagued by two big injuries early in the season. Defender Jlon Flippens has been sidelined for the start of the season with an injury, while fellow defender Niven Hegeman suffered a torn ACL in the contest against NJIT and will miss the rest of her senior campaign.
With the loss of two upperclassmen stars, younger Terps have been able to step up in the spotlight and perform more than anticipated. Sophomore Emily McNesby has seen her playing time skyrocket since the loss of Hegeman. In her last three games, the forward totaled nine shots, five of which were on goal.
“Emily is definitely a player who always comes in with intensity, always keeps us in the game,” midfielder Malikae Dayes said. “She just does a very good job shooting, putting pressure on players and keeping the intensity up all game.”
Although they have struggled greatly on the road, the Terrapins can take a deep breath as five of their next six games will be played at Ludwig. The team finishes out non-conference play and begins the Big Ten season on home turf, so Maryland has a great opportunity to tally some wins before hitting the road again.
The one away game in the next stretch is only a few miles down the road, when Maryland takes on George Washington in Washington D.C.
From last season, nine starters return to Maryland’s lineup. The two everyday players that were lost to graduation are Harmon, the leading scorer, and goalkeeper Rachel Egyed. Although most of the lineup is back together, the players lost were key contributors for the Terps in 2018.
The core group of girls back together look to carry this young Maryland team to greater success this season. The Dayes twins and lead attacker Alyssa Poarch now have a year under their belt on the same field, looking to do some damage together.
The average number of shots for the Maryland offense has been on a decline since the first game. Starting off the year with 44 shots through two games, the Terps were hot on the attack. After a lackluster weekend, however, the team has cooled off, now averaging 16 shots after four games.
“I think when we played with Jarena [Harmon] we were a counter-attack team,” midfielder Darby Moore said. “This year it’s been a different kind of attacking mentality, as we’re trying to build up in our shots and finish more of our set pieces.”
Two shutouts in consecutive games have put the Terrapins in a hole, but the offense can be sparked yet again in one game, as they have proven so far this year.
Shots against Maryland have been finding goalkeeper Erin Seppi more than not, as opponents are putting shots on goal 52% of the time that they strike. These good looks are attributed to a struggling defense for Maryland, who in the last two games has allowed nine goals. These good teams have been a step up for the Terps, as the level of play has challenged them heading into Big Ten play.
“For us to jump up that many levels, it was really important for us to see that,” Leone said. “Our team needs the pressure of a real game.”