The Terrapins will travel to Purdue on Thursday for the first of a pair of road games this week.
The Terps beat Purdue 2-1 last season in College Park, and Purdue is coming off a 1-0 loss in its home opener against Illinois last week.
“They are very organized defensively,” head coach Ray Leone said of Purdue. “They got in with the 8th seed in the Big Ten Tournament last season and knocked off the number 1 seed. They’re a very capable team and [head coach] Drew Roff has done a very good job out there.”
Maryland is coming off a 1-1 draw with Michigan State, after senior forward Mikayla Dayes scored with just over a minute left in the second half.
Leone was full of praise for his players after the game, the first ever in Maryland stadium for the women’s soccer team. He also identified some areas of improvement moving forward.
“We competed and we fought, that’s the most important thing,” Leone said. “If we can have that as our identity, we can have a successful season. “I’d like to see more composure from us. Our first touch has to get better, and we need to break the lines.”
In the home opener against Michigan State, Leone started three freshmen and was happy with their contribution. Freshman midfielder Catherine DeRosa was one of them and expressed excitement to be contributing.
“They’re competitive, they’re not shy, they have big personalities, and I think that will maximize their ability to contribute as freshman,” Leone said.
“It’s a really exciting time to be on this team, they had a very successful season last year and we’re looking to build off that,” DeRosa added.
It was an even sweeter moment for freshman midfielder Milan Pierre-Jerome, who also started the game against Michigan State. After tearing her ACL 14 months ago, last week’s game was her first one back.
“For me it was kind of surreal, and before the whistle blew I was just standing there thinking, ‘wow, I made it here after all this time and rehab’,” Pierre-Jerome said. “It was definitely a special moment.”
After Thursday’s game at Purdue, the Terps will travel to Northwestern on Sunday before returning home to play Ohio State next week.