Maryland kicks off Big Ten play with a solid defensive display against Michigan

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Sasho Cirovski’s men look to bounce back from a loss to nearby neighbors Georgetown in a Big Ten conference kickoff game between Chaka Daley’s Michigan Wolverines. Ludwig Field provided an electric atmosphere for the Terps’ first home conference game in over two years.

The Terps, who fell one spot in the latest rankings after the 1-0 loss to the Hoyas, won on a 2-1 scoreline. It’s their second victory against Michigan in their last five attempts since 2016. 

An achilles heel for the Terps was the inability to finish against a Georgetown defense that nagged them throughout the game. A shot from Justin Gielen found the back of the net but was called back for offside. The Terps would have their chances, but none big enough to take anything away from the game. 

Today proved to be a bounceback, as ten of Maryland’s 16 shots were on target.

After the stingy defense Georgetown provided to Maryland’s attack, the Terps gave the stinginess right back to the Wolverines. Anchored by senior captain Brett St. Martin, the defense allowed only one shot on target the entire match.

“I thought we got better as the game progressed,” Cirovski said. “It’s an outstanding defensive performance when you hold a team like Michigan to four shots over 90 minutes.”

A Malcolm Johnston effort from the top of the box within five minutes, as well as a pair of tries from Jacen Russell-Rowe had the Terps believing they could find a breakthrough around the half-hour mark, but the Wolverines defense held strong, amounting to only five shots combined through the first half. It was a relatively eventless first half. 

Ten minutes into the second half, the Terps gained some steam. Fancy footwork from Josh Bolma got the crowd into the game, and possession built all the way up to the 55th minute when the Terps won a free-kick from around 22 yards out. The Ghanian wrapped his foot around the dead ball and buried the shot away to the goalkeeper’s lower right hand side, sending the Ludwig Lunatics into a frenzy. It was a deserving goal that capped off Maryland’s most dominant period of the game. And it was the redshirt freshman’s second goal of the year. 

Junior midfielder Justin Harris credits a change of formation in the second half as the reason for the stellar second half performance saying that his team was “pushing forward and being more direct.” 

Harris was the beneficiary of that pressure, as he found nearly the same spot as Bolma did just minutes before, sweetly striking it home to double the lead. 

Bolma expressed his elation for his teammate and suitemate scoring his first goal. 

“He’s my suitemate so I’m really glad we’re repping tonight,” Bolma said, “Montgomery Hall for the win.”

A Derek Broche goal in the 72nd minute proved to be the only smear on an otherwise perfect Maryland canvas. That goal was Michigan’s only shot on target of the game. 

Michigan showed their grit, as they conjured a corner kick opportunity with three and a half minutes to go, in which a palpable tensity gripped Ludwig Field, but it was properly dealt with by the Maryland defense. The tension eased, and the clock ran all the way down to Maryland’s first home conference win in front of a full Ludwig Field crowd since October 25th, 2019. 

Despite the goal, it was a very strong showing from the Terps. They limited the Wolverines to four shots all game, and capitalized on an eventless first half. They have a very quick turnaround, as they entertain High Point on Monday evening at 7 p.m.