The Terps (3-3-0) are looking for their fourth straight win as they head on the road against Northwestern (2-5-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to the match this weekend, we were very disappointed to not have the opportunity to play on Tuesday,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We’re ready to go, we’re in good form, and we’re looking forward to the match.”
Maryland was supposed to play Rutgers on Tuesday, March 23rd, but the match was postponed due to reasons other than COVID.
The Terps are coming off three consecutive victories. First against Wisconsin and then-no. 6 ranked Michigan on the road. Maryland followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Michigan State. Redshirt senior and captain Paul Bin scored twice for the Terps in the Michigan State victory.
Bin received Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring three goals in the last two matches.
“That kid has put in so much work to be back where he was in 2018, I was so happy to see when he was given that because he deserved that and so much more.” sophomore midfielder Malcolm Johnston.
“It’s been awesome to see Paul sort of find his mojo, his groove,” Cirovski said. “Each game has gotten a little bit sharper and better on the attacking side so, he’s right now in very good form and really providing a lot of inspiration.”
After starting the season 0-3, the Terps are now playing with great momentum improving their record to 3-3-0. A defensive mind is one of the keys to the improvement of the squad.
“I think it’s been kind of been displayed throughout the last couple games, it’s just a lot more intensity and I think we’re holding each other a little bit more accountable,” redshirt sophomore midfielder/defender Nick Richardson said. “It’s just all coming together a little bit more than it was in the beginning.”
The other has been the tactical change of more of a 4-4-2 diamond shape.
“I’ve had many, many years of successful runs in a 4-4-2 diamond. So we wanted to give it that a shot,” Cirovski said. “And so far, so good.”
The last regular season meeting between Northwestern and Maryland in 2019 the Wildcats defeated the Terps 3-1 at Ludwig Field. The Terps then bounced back and defeated the Wildcats in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals in Evanston 1-0.
Northwestern finished with a .500 record in 2019 and currently sits below Maryland with a 2-5-1 record. Despite their 2-5-1 record, Maryland can’t afford to underestimate the Wildcats.
Northwestern has extra motivation as it will be the last home match for head coach Tim Lenahan.
“ I consider him a good friend, someone that’s worked with me on the 21st century model. So I’m expecting a heck of a performance by Northwestern in this game,” Cirovski said.
“He’s had a great 20 year career,” Cirovski said. “Before he got to Northwestern, they were not even a program that anyone thought about.. But he’s taken them to a few elite eights, they’ve won a couple of Big Ten Championships.”
After the Northwestern match, the schedule doesn’t make it easier for the Terps, as they face Penn State, Indiana, possibly rescheduled Rutgers and then Big Ten Tournament. All of those are teams who either beat them already or are ahead in the standings, so the margin of error is increasingly small as the number of matches dwindles down.
“It’s the most important game of the year so far, for sure,” Johnston said.
The match will be live on BTN at 4 pm ET.