Maryland (0-10-2 B1G) ended its season with a 4-2 loss at Ohio State (7-1-3 B1G) in the opening round of Big Ten Regional Weekend.
The loss brings a frustrating season full of injuries for the Terps to a close, and marks the team’s worst record of all-time.
Despite the frustrating result, Maryland got off to a roaring start. The Terps scored their first goal in 585 minutes of play in the 9th minute. Ohio State gave the ball away cheaply in the back after pressure from senior forward Mikayala Dayes.
After the giveaway, sophomore forward Keyera Wynn flicked the ball through to Mikayla Dayes, who slotted it in the near post to give the Terps an early advantage. However, the Buckeyes had a golden opportunity to tie the score in the 34th minute as junior forward freshman got in behind Maryland’s defense, but freshman goalkeeper Krista Varrichione came up with a huge save to keep Maryland’s advantage.
Ohio State tied the game in the 42nd minute, when Fischer volleyed home a rebound off a corner, which halted some of Maryland’s momentum and gave Ohio State added momentum entering halftime.
“It was unfortunate because we were really playing well,” head coach Ray Leone said. “They got a corner against the run of play and just put it home. But we didn’t go into the half discouraged at all because it was a really good performance.”
The teams went into the locker room at halftime tied, with Ohio State getting back into the game and equalizing just before halftime after Maryland were on the front foot and capitalized early.
In the 50th minute Maryland had a huge chance when a rebound from a cross fell to Mikayla Dayes. However, her half-volley from 10 yards out blazed just over the crossbar as a huge chance went begging for the Terps. A few minutes later Maryland had another opportunity as redshirt junior Alyssa Poarch rifled a shot off the crossbar from 25 yards out that went out of bounds and resulted in an Ohio State goal kick.
Ohio State took the lead in the 56th minute after Maryland turned the ball over in the midfield. Freshman midfielder Peyton McNamara received a pass and beat a defender before putting the ball in the bottom corner to give the Buckeyes the lead.
Feeding off its momentum, Ohio State doubled its lead in the 62nd minute. Maryland poorly cleared an Ohio State cutback, and junior forward Emaly Vatne laid the ball back to redshirt senior midfielder Alyssa Baumbick, who scored from just outside the box extending the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-1.
The Terps had a chance to get back into the game in the 66th minute, however, junior forward Emily McNesby’s shot went just wide of the post as Maryland missed another huge chance.
Ohio State scored its fourth in the 80th minute, after freshman midfielder Kine Flotre dropped the ball back to McNamara. McNamara unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards out that found the top corner for her brace.
Maryland found its second goal of the game in the 82nd minute, after Ohio State gave away the ball in its defensive third. Poarch pounced on it, and scored from just inside the box to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to two going into the final minutes of the game.
As the final whistle sounded Maryland’s season came to an end, unable to get in the win column this season. Their record is a bit skewed however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic Maryland played exclusively conference opponents.
The Terps have had some poor conference records in recent history, however the last time they failed to win a conference game was in 1993, when Maryland participated in the ACC.
However Leone has experience in turning teams around. Even with this Maryland team, after joining the Terps in 2016 and going 3-15-1 in his first season, Leone’s Terps improved to 7-8-1 the following year.
After another down season in 2018, in which Maryland went 4-10-5, Leone led the Terps to their first ever Big Ten Tournament and Maryland’s first winning record since 2012 in 2019. Despite the challenging season, Leone is optimistic for a similar turnaround next season.
“To have the majority of the players back and have such an experience [is great],” he said. “This is all about the Big Ten for us, so we’ve only played Big Ten teams [this season] and now all of our young players know what they need to do. They say in New York, you’ve got to suffer before the success. We suffered, this entire season we suffered and hopefully the success will come. I’ve been here before, too… it can be turned around, and it will.”