By: Brittney Bridges
Coming off an exciting, but also overwhelming 3-2 OT win against No. 16 UCLA, the Maryland Terrapins’ next opponent was a relatively young Cal Poly team. The Cal Poly Mustangs traveled to College Park, Maryland on a warm Monday night to face the undefeated Terps.
Though Maryland is only four games into the season, it’s still apparent that it can be a dominant team. The Terps are currently ranked No. 6 in the nation and, in front of an impressive-sized crowd, defeated the Mustangs 1-0.
The Mustangs started out with good defense against the Terps, despite having two of their defensive starters suspended. Maryland finished with eight shot attempts at the end of the first half, with most of its shots and crosses landing right into the hands of Cal Poly’s goalkeeper, Simon Boehme.
The Mustangs stepped up defensively, though they lacked on the offense end. The Mustangs sat back majority of the game, which was the opposite of what most people were expecting. Sophomore midfielder Eli Crognale thought the Terps handled the Mustang’s setup well.
“That team paid us a lot of respect with them sitting back about 20 yards behind midfield,” Crognale said.
That was one of the reasons Cal Poly couldn’t get their offense going, while Maryland had some missed opportunities but remained patient.
Maryland’s offense didn’t strike until a fortunate call for junior DJ Reeves resulted in a penalty kick for the Terrapins. Gordon Wild took the penalty kick and finished it in classic fashion — causing Boehme to leap to the complete opposite side of the goal. The shot looked almost identical to his penalty kick versus UCLA last Friday.
Wild scored 17 goals in 21 games last season, was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year last season and was a MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist. Though he hasn’t been as dominant execution wise like we saw last season, he still has been making his presence felt. Wild had one major shot attempt towards the end of the game but was impressively blocked by Boehme, who was perhaps the saving grace for this Cal Poly team.
The rest of the action in the second half was all Maryland offensively. Cal Poly was rarely seen on the attack. Maryland had a few notable opportunities to stretch its lead but couldn’t finish. Perhaps the only offensive highlight by Cal Poly occurred with six minutes left in regulation. Ludwig Field fell quiet during a close call when Cal Poly’s Alex Sanchez took a corner kick that was thought to be a goal, but ended up being far left.
When asked about Maryland’s next matchup, its Big Ten opener against Indiana, Reeves’ take was simple: “We’ve got to be prepared.”
The Hoosiers are ranked right behind the Terps at No. 7 nationally and 2nd in the Big Ten.
“We’ll rest up the next few days and get prepared,” Reeves said. “We know Indiana is a great team and we respect them a lot. It’s a big test.”
The big matchup is this Friday at Ludwig Field at 7 p.m. The Maryland Terrapins improve to 4-0 while Cal Poly drops to 0-4.