Freshman forward Jacen Russell-Rowe controlled a loose ball just outside the Wisconsin box and let it rip. The smoked ball found the top-left corner of the net to give the Terps a 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute for the Ontario native’s second goal of the season.
That goal proved to be the game-winner as the Terps won their first match of the season in an intense affair at Ludwig Field.
“Finally,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “I’m really happy for the guys, it was a great performance today. It was more of a Maryland performance that I expect, that we played the game at a high intensity level.”
You could sense the relief and excitement as Russell-Rowe’s shot entered the back of the net giving Maryland its first lead of the season. Both the Terps sideline and those family members in attendance roared when the ball found the back of the net.
Starting the season 0-3-0, the Terps were facing a must-win situation against the Badgers and they played with that urgency from the opening whistle. In the 7th minute, a great opportunity arose for the Terps with several beautiful passes that created a chance for redshirt senior Paul Bin just outside the Wisconsin box. Bin took control of the ball and the strike sailed over the Wisconsin goal.
The Terps kept their intensity going against the Badgers searching for their first goal since losing against Penn State in the season opener. Maryland found another quality opportunity in the 12th minute. Wisconsin fouled redshirt senior midfielder Mike Heitzmann just beyond the box, but midfielder/defender Nick Richardson’s free kick landed well over the goal.
Despite dominating the first half in possession and opportunities the Terps entered the half in a scoreless tie. Shortly before the half junior forward/midfielder Bryan Padilla side-stepped a Wisconsin defender firing a shot outside the box that was met by a brilliant save from Wisconsin goalie Sven Kleinhans.
The Terps finished the first half with five shot attempts, dominated possession of the ball, and corner attempts. When the halftime break was over, the Terps didn’t show any letdown as they continued their intensity.
Both sides were even until the 63rd minute, when Russell-Rowe took full advantage of his opportunity and gave the Terps the 1-0 lead with his aforementioned goal.
“I’ve just come here to that I’m a goal scorer like that’s me by nature as a striker, that’s my job,” Russell-Rowe said. So with Eric [Matzelelvich] out, I want to be able to provide for the team as much as I can.”
With the lead for the first time all season long, Maryland opted for a more defensive strategy to prevent the Badgers from finding the tying goal. Despite the Badgers best efforts, Maryland’s defense held strong the final 27 minutes and the Badgers weren’t able to break through cementing Maryland’s first win of the season.
“We wanted to just go from the start and not remember any of the other games,” newly appointed captain junior defender Brett St. Martin said. “And you can see that performance was so much better with pressing, defensive wise, and a great goal from Jacen, you could see the team was just really excited to be out there and the energy was really high.”
Maryland plays its next match on Thursday afternoon in Ann Arbor against Michigan.