By Bryan Jones
Maryland women’s soccer has had a promising start to the season, finishing undefeated in nonconference play, but the Terps have struggled to score in Big Ten play due to injuries to key players.
Maryland’s two primary goal scorers will miss the remainder of the regular season a tough break for a team that had a nice mix of experience and freshman filling up the scorer’s sheet. Senior Chelsea Jackson led the Terps with nine goals last season while freshman Mikayla Dayes made her presence felt the minute she stepped on the field for Maryland.
The Terps scored 1.57 goals per game in nonconference games with Dayes and Jackson but have scored just 0.8 goals per game against Big Ten opponents without them on the field.
“We have struggled staying healthy and I think that has to do with the consistency,” said Madison Turner.
Dayes suffered a non-contact injury against Richmond Aug. 31. She dropped near midfield and stayed on the ground several minutes before being carted off the field.
Before she was injured, Dayes had three goals and received praise from head coach Ray Leone. He complimented her skillset and praised her passing and ability to score in the box.
Chelsea Jackson tore her ACL during Maryland’s Big Ten opener at Rutgers. The team lost the game 2-0.
Since Jackson went down, the Terps have struggled to score and are missing a primary playmaker.
“Just from looking at the people that we have injured right now, you can see why it’s inconsistent,” Turner said. “We already lost [Mikayla] early this season and she was looking to be our leading scorer, Chelsea was our leading scorer last year, Jarena [Harmon] has been in and out.”
Over the past two games, the Terps have found success by catching opposing goalkeepers off guard and scoring goals far from the net. Gi Krstec came off the bench and scored from 45 yards out against No. 12 Wisconsin. Madison Turner scored her third goal of the season against Minnesota scoring from 20 yards out.
The Terps had to take on Minnesota just two days after playing a double overtime draw against No.12 Wisconsin. The tie was the fifth overtime game for Maryland this season and the lack of rest is starting to catch up to the players.
“It’s hard when we play so many games in a row and barely can stand,” Leone said. “You are supposed to practice in between these so we have a lot of video to do next week.”
Despite the team’s struggles, Leone is not counting his team out.
“They have changed since the Rutgers game, their faces, their body language, their fight, their belief is getting stronger,” said Leone.
Senior captain Hope Lewandoski talked about how the team has responded after Krstec and Jenna Surdick scored their first goals of the season off the bench against Wisconsin.
“We have really good players who obviously we are missing right now, but I think that our resolve and our ability to step up and take that challenge is really important,” Lewandowski said.
The Terps go back on the road to face Nebraska on Thursday and then Iowa on Sunday.