By: Borja Rebaza
If the Maryland Terrapins’ women’s soccer team expects to be competitive in Big Ten play, it needs to learn how to win ugly. On Thursday night at Ludwig Field, that is exactly what it did.
The Terps scored early, and held on late, to defeat William & Mary Tribe 1-0 to finish nonconference play unbeaten.
Both teams came in missing key pieces, as Mikayla Dayes missed her second consecutive game due to injury. The Tribe were also missing their star player, sophomore Sarah Segan.
On top of that, second-year head coach Ray Leone decided to rest some key players, with this being the last game before Big Ten play begins.
“Even the best players in the world don’t play sometimes,” Leone said.
This meant that a few players, including last game’s hero Jlon Flippens, started the game on the bench.
The Terps came in on a high, having started the season undefeated, including four straight overtime wins. This translated into good spirits on the sidelines before the match, with many Terps smiling and dancing during pregame warmups.
The good times continued three minutes into the match, when Jarena Harmon sent in a through ball to Madison Turner, who cleanly finished to put the Terrapins up 1-0.
“We were very thankful to not have to play another overtime game and can now focus on getting better over the next 10 days,” Madison Turner said after the game.
Scoring early was crucial for the Terrapins, who were able to play with the lead for nearly the entirety of the game.
“It’s great [to score early],” defender Julia New said. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen for us, but today it did and it really helped.”
Maryland continued to dominate the next ten minutes, with several chances on goal, and it limited the Tribe to few opportunities. The ladies from William & Mary settled into the game afterwards, and from then on the match fell into a lull needing a creative spark.
Turnovers really hindered both teams’ chances on the attack. While the Terps’ offense seemed rather dormant after the first ten minutes, Maryland’s defense played strong throughout the half, tackling hard and breaking up attacks. This defensive performance allowed for the Terps to have an six-shot advantage over the Tribe in the first half.
The Terps came out more aggressive to start the second half. Maryland got quality looks on target, including a circus shot from Turner, who almost scored her second of the game as her attempt from a difficult angle came off the bar.
These early attacks did not William & Mary’s hopes, as Sami Grasso’s shot fifteen minutes into the half forced a tremendous save from the Maryland keeper. Throughout both halves, Grasso was the player that gave the Terrapin backline the most difficulty.
It was this defense that was the real story of the game, bending but never breaking and holding the dangerous Tribe attack to only eight shots. It is this defense that Leone hopes will carry the Terps when conference play begins next Sunday night in Piscataway against Rutgers.