By Eddie Hobbs
Going into the game against UMBC on Tuesday night, the Maryland Terrapins five-game clean sheet was still intact. The defense had been outstanding against some very tough teams, including Indiana, Penn State and Michigan State.
The Terps knew what was at stake when they took on UMBC, a local rival team which is just a short drive on I-95. The Retrievers love to shoot the ball, and they average 16 shots per game, a stat where they are ranked in the top five in the country. That type of fire power certainly tested Maryland’s defense in the 1-1 draw.
The Terps gave up their first goal in over 567 minutes of play, something that the defense prided itself on. Retriever midfielder Greg Hauck ended the streak when a cross from just inside midline was able to get behind Donovan Pines, then deflected off Hauckes’ foot past Terps’ goalkeeper Dayne St Clair.
Maryland played in its second overtime in two games first against Michigan State on Friday and then against UMBC Tuesday night. Exhaustion starts to come into play when you go through that kind of scheduling.
“I think you are seeing a little fatigue from getting everyone’s best game in the Michigan State game,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “I think that is a little of the reason why attacking play as off a little bit, but we’re going through a tough spell right now as far as three away games and big crowds.”
The players were obviously frustrated with the result of the UMBC game. Maryland last faced UMBC in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Retrievers were able to get the best of Maryland in the 1-0 defeat. That taste still has not left the mouth of George Campbell.
“Being one of the guys that was here in 2014 when that all happened, I’m not happy at all, it still hurts,” Campbell said. “We wanted to come in here and get a good result and outcompete these guys. They fought and they outworked us and none of us are happy.”
Regardless of the result, Donovan Pines still thinks that the Maryland back line is a strong part of this Maryland team. The unit has allowed one goal in the span of six games.
“We just played our game, our back line is pretty strong, I think we have very big capable players who can deal with that pressure,” Pines said. “I think we did pretty well with that pressure that they put on us and it’s unfortunate that they scored, but overall defensive line and defensive mids did pretty well.”
After the draw against UMBC, Maryland returns to Ludwig Field on Friday night to take on a struggling Northwestern team that is 2-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play. The Wildcats recently played against Michigan in Ann Arbor, and lost 3-1.
A few things to keep an eye on in this game:
- Northwestern has only been able to salvage six goals in nine games. This number is substantially low and Maryland’s strong back line paired with great goalkeeping play from St. Clair should help keep Northwestern off the board. Midfielder Sean Lynch leads Northwestern with two goals and has taken the second most shots on the team. The center backs Donovan Pines and Johannes Bergmann are the strong points on defense, so they will be tasked with stopping Lynch.
- Most recently Maryland has had trouble scoring the ball, but has had many chances to put the ball in the back of the net. Cirovski has noted how close the team is to finishing some of these chances, but that they just need to focus so they can put teams away. Against Michigan State and UMBC Maryland has combined for 44 shots, but have only came away with one goal. Finishing the play is the one thing that they will need to focus on when they face off against this Wildcat team.