By: Hannah Fields
It was nothing short of a thriller when the Maryland Terrapins faced off against the Richmond Spiders.
In the second overtime, both teams were exhausted, especially the Terps, who had played in three straight overtime games. In the end, there was a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a Chelsea Jackson game-winning goal.
Jackson gave the Terps a 1-0 double-overtime win, advancing Maryland to 4-0-1 on the season.
From the first whistle, it was obvious that the game was not going to be an easy win. Both teams were playing physical, shots were going over the net and passes just weren’t connecting. First half struggles have been a recurring theme for the Terps so far, and head coach Ray Leone recognizes this predicament.
“We need to make some changes, and I don’t know exactly what they are right now,” Leone said after the game. “We can’t come out like that at home — no way.”
With the emergence of top goal scorer and freshman star Mikayla Dayes, the Terps experienced a new level of energy and increased their level of play. Her presence added a spark to the offense, and she immediately proved her speed and physicality during a breakaway through the middle of Richmond’s defense. The freshman broke away from two defenders and got a shot off that the Spiders’ keeper, Olivia Sjodin, saved.
Despite the energy surge from Dayes, neither Maryland nor Richmond was able to put the ball in the back of the net.
Though the first half was full of disconnected passes and futile shots, both teams upped the intensity in the second half. With momentum in their favor, disaster struck for Maryland when Dayes went down on the field after contact with a Spider. Dayes was carted off the field with a bruised knee, which gave the remaining players all the more reason to get the win.
“It was tough, but I think the most important part was bringing the same energy that Mikayla brought to the game, and I thought we did,” Jackson said.
The Terps only attempted five shots in the first half, but thanks to star players such as Madison Turner and junior forward Jarena Harmon, the Terps finished the game with a total of 22 shots, including Jackson’s game-winner.
The first overtime of the game was filled with quality shots from both Richmond and Maryland, but to no avail. By the second overtime, each team was visibly tired, yet that did not stop the level of play.
“With the number of overtimes we’ve had, I think we’re learning from that…We’re learning to play smarter when our legs feel heavier,” Jackson said.
After repeated chances at goal, the golden shot finally came in the last minute. Jackson, with an assist by Hope Lewandoski, drilled a powerful left-footer to the upper right corner just out of Sjodin’s reach to seal the victory for the Terps.
With this fourth win of the season, the Terps women’s soccer team has already surpassed its win total from last season, and is eager for more growth and more wins.
“They’re not complaining on calls, they’re fighting through whatever struggles they’re getting, and hopefully we’re growing from these experiences,” Leone said of his team’s future, “We’re so young we need the extra time anyways, that’s why we’re playing so much.”