Fall Sports Preview

By Steven Dilsizian

Fall sports at the University of Maryland are officially underway with some teams looking to build on last year’s success while others seek to revitalize their programs.


Maryland has completely revamped its coaching staff ahead of the 2016 season, headlined by new head coach DJ Durkin. The program’s first test will be Saturday when the Terps host Howard University.

The big news this week was the depth chart for week one.

Senior quarterback Perry Hills earned the starting position for Saturday. His biggest task will be limiting the amount of turnovers that plagued Maryland’s offense last season. Freshman Tyrrell Pigrome and Max Bortenschlager will backup Hills against Howard.

Senior quarterback Caleb Rowe is listed as “probable” but “not 100 percent” healthy. He missed some time during training camp, which is one of the main reasons the freshmen have taken the backup roles going into week one. 

 “We reevaluate and look at our depth every week based on how guys prepare but these two freshmen have really shown times where they can really help us win,” Coach Durkin said.

Three players have been slotted as two-way players. These players have both offensive and defensive positions.

Star cornerback William Likely will play his original position as well as some plays at wide receiver against Howard. Freshman Jake Funk, an offensive running back, is on the defensive depth chart as a safety, and coveted freshman wide receiver Tino Ellis is listed as a cornerback.

“If a guy can play and help us somewhere we are going to put him there,” Durkin said. “These guys can play both ways, they have done it before in their life, so why change now?”

Possibly the biggest X factor on the offensive side of the ball is sophomore running back Ty Johnson, who has been named the starting running back for week one in a very crowded backfield.

“He’s kind of the total package and that’s one of the positions that I feel great about the amount of depth,” Durkin said. “At the same time, there are several guys there where you can make a case that they should be a starter.”

It’s a good problem for Maryland to have.

Senior transfer Trey Edmunds left Virginia Tech for Maryland this offseason and looks to provide some experience and leadership. Freshmen Jake Funk and Lorenzo Harrison joined the backfield for the Terps as well.

Week one against Howard should not be difficult by any means, however, it should be an eye-opener to what this new coaching staff can do.

Men’s Soccer

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

 The No. 4 ranked Terps went undefeated in preseason, and opened their 2016 season with a well-deserved draw against No. 16 UCLA. Maryland dominated Hartford 5-0 on Monday in the Terps’ home opener.

The Terps have won four straight conference tournament titles and last season fell to Clemson in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

“From the first day we got back after that loss, our seniors decided that wasn’t good enough,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said.

The Terps were picked No. 1 in the Big Ten preseason poll. Maryland has eight returning starters, but conference competition will be difficult with Indiana being a very strong threat returning nine starters of their own.

Coach Cirovski believes this team has the leadership and experience to have a successful season. The backline returns four senior defenders led by captain Alex Crognale.

“This is a very good team, Dr. Loh put it out there and said this is the best team he’s seen in six years,” Cirovski said.

The men’s soccer team will play Friday against a strong Georgetown team in front of the College Park crowd.

“The standards at Maryland are high and our goals are even higher,”Cirovski said. “We want to bring more hardware back home and we don’t mind talking about it.”

Women’s Soccer

(Courtesy of UMTerps.com)
(Courtesy of UMTerps.com)

Head Coach Ray Leone is in his first season coaching the Terps and has assembled a young and talented coaching staff around him.

The women’s Soccer team started their season with a 2-1-1 record. Their last two games were wins against William & Mary and Penn.

Similar to the men’s team, the women have experience in the defense with senior Natasha Ntone-Kouo and junior Madison Turner leading the way.

“The thing that has impressed me the most about this team is our fight,” senior midfielder Hope Gouterman said. “That fight has been infectious throughout the whole team.”

Gouterman only played in four games last season, however, she has started every game so far this season for the Terps and is one of the leaders of this team.

The women’s soccer team will host No. 20 Pepperdine (2-0-0) this Friday at Ludwig Field in a Maryland soccer doubleheader.

Field Hockey

Field Hockey Coach Missy Meharg has coached the Terps for nearly 30 years. (Photo Courtesy of UMTerps.com)
Field Hockey Coach Missy Meharg has coached the Terps for nearly 30 years. (Photo Courtesy of UMTerps.com)

Head Coach Missy Meharg has made her presence felt at Maryland. The Terps have won two regular season titles and a tournament title in just two years.

Graduate forward and captain Welma Luus is the face of the field hockey team this season. Luus had seven goals in three games during the Big Ten tournament and will lead the team.

However, this team is not the same team that it was the past couple seasons.

“We have a very fresh and new team with ten freshmen joining the program,” Meharg said. “Seven of them rotating in, and three of them starting.”

This new team will take time to develop the chemistry expected of the Maryland field hockey team, but the chemistry will come with time. The Terps already have skill and talent.

“We’ve been doing a lot of team building exercises that require talking and presentations for the freshman and they have been doing really well,” Meharg said.

With Luus swarmed by defenders for the majority of games, the freshman will have to step up throughout the season and help make the offense more versatile.

The Terps fell to No. 2 Syracuse in the second game of the regular season, but have No. 8 Boston College and No. 4 Duke coming up.


Liz Twilley and Ashlyn MacGregor secure the block for Maryland. (Photo Courtesy of UMTerps.com)
Liz Twilley and Ashlyn MacGregor secure the block for Maryland. (Photo Courtesy of UMTerps.com)

Head coach Steve Aird understands the growing pains a team must go through before they become successful.

Aird has started to energize a fan base that has been through some difficult times with the 16th ranked recruiting class in the nation and some freshman that can make an impact right away.

“When we got here two years ago, we were ranked 184th in the country and we now stand at 39th,” coach Aird said.

The team has ten underclassmen, but as a young team they bring a newfound energy and future to the program.

The Terps head to Kansas this weekend to face the Jayhawks, a Final Four team, to really test where they are as a team.

“We have started to develop this grit as a young team and there are going to be some pains where we may not play a great match,” Aird said. “But if we come out the next day and fight like crazy I think that’s all that matters.”

Last year, the Terps struggled with a 15-19 record and a 5-15 conference record. Look for improvement this year in the win columns, specifically in the conference play.

“When you play us, you have to worry about us now,” Aird said. “This year teams have to prepare for our matchups where we can push people and compete.”