Maryland women’s soccer plays No. 17 Rutgers to scoreless draw

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Maryland (0-4-2 B1G) and No. 17 Rutgers (4-1-1 B1G) played out a scoreless draw on Saturday at Ludwig Field, with Maryland snapping its four-game losing streak, picking up its first point of the season since its season opener against Michigan State.

A cagey first half saw no shots on target from either side, with the best chance of the half coming for Maryland when redshirt junior Alyssa Poarch hit the crossbar with a shot.

Despite having a lot of attacking firepower in senior forwards Amirah Ali and Nneka Moneme, Rutgers was only able to register one shot in the first half, which head coach Ray Leone was pleased about.

“It was a stellar performance,” Leone said. “We really had to be on our game today and we were, and it was not just the back four plus Kennedy, it was the whole eleven in front just making it as condensed and as predictable as you possibly could. We just covered each other extremely well and to get a clean sheet was really something to be proud of.”

Rutgers had its best chance of the second half in the 64th minute after Nneka Moneme’s shot from outside of the box skimmed off the top of the crossbar.

Maryland had a chance to win it late in the 87th minute. After a quickly taken free kick, Poarch put senior forward Mikayla Dayes in behind the Rutgers defense with a through ball. However, her near post shot was saved by junior goalkeeper Meagan McLelland. Dayes’ shot was the first shot on target from either side in the game.

Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kennedy Tolson came up with a huge save in the first overtime period for the Terps after Ali almost found the golden goal for the Scarlet Knights.

“That was unbelievable,” Leone said. “I can’t wait to see it because I didn’t have a great view, I just know it was a lot of bodies, and it was a perfect serve and perfect contact [from Ali]. So for her to get down to that quickly was just a game saver, that’s a game saver. The game is over right there if she doesn’t make that save.”

Neither side could find a golden goal in the remaining overtime period, and the game ended 0-0.

After conceding three goals in the last match against Indiana, senior midfielder Hope Lewandoski, who has slotted in at center back in the last two games due to injuries, was much happier with the defense’s performance.

“I think they really stepped up big,” Lewandoski said. “We haven’t had too much practice together, but that’s just kind of what we’ve got to do this season, take on adversity as it comes. I think we have some really good players in the backline and they really stepped up and did all their jobs individually and made us all look pretty good today. I think they all had great performances and I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

This is only the second time Rutgers has dropped points this season, with its only loss coming in overtime on the road against Indiana.

Maryland will play its last two home games of the season next week, taking on Michigan at 3 p.m. on Thursday followed by Iowa on Sunday at noon.

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