The Spartans put the pressure on the Terps defense in the early. It culminated with a shot from Michigan State forward Ava Cook with only Maryland goalie Madeline Smith in her way. The shot went across the goal and just wide.
As Ava Cook put on a powerful performance and nearly singlehandedly outplayed the Terps, the Spartans marched to a 2-0 victory, paving their way to a tournament bid and digging Maryland in a deeper 2021 hole.
The early control would eventually pay off for the Spartans, however, as Zivana Labovic
sent a cross into the box and Cook took the entry pass and scored to put the first points on the board.
The Terps got their first real chance in the 28th minute with a Mikayla Dayes shot that was just pushed outside the near post. The Spartans responded with Ava Cook’s second goal of the game as she capitalized off of a missed clear opportunity by the Terps.
As the first half began to wind down and the rain began to pour, the Spartans and Ava Cook began to pile on the shots with multiple decent chances to make it 3-0 before the end of the half. Still, the Terps defense was able to hold the Spartan lead at two goals going into the half.
The first half was the Ava Cook show, as the Spartans forward had both Michigan State goals on five shots, matching the number of shots that the Terps had as a team at the midway point.
The second half started slowly but picked up with another close chance for Ava Cook that went off the crossbar.
The Terps continued to bend but not quite break in the second half as Cook got her head on two consecutive corners in the 63rd minute.
The game slowed down considerably from there as Maryland’s defense locked in and prevented any other serious chances for the rest of the game. The offense however still could not get anything going as Spartan goalie Lauren Kozal was not seriously challenged the entire game.
The game would end there with a final score of 2-0 Spartans with Michigan State almost certain to earn their first Big 10 tournament bid in 10 years.
The Terps dropped to 4-8-5 overall and 0-6-2 in the Big 10, Maryland had another good defensive performance, especially in the second half. They were just unable to contain Ava Cook early as she matched the Terps in overall shots on target with four apiece.
“She’s a special player, you know, very athletic, very smart,” head coach Ray Leone said, “you got to be accounting [for] her all the time.”
Terps second half goalie Liz Brucia played extremely well and was key to keeping the Spartans off the board in the second half.
“She was fantastic and she’ll definitely start the final game and play the whole game against Michigan. She was really really good tonight.” Leone said.
The Terps will play their final regular season game Sunday in Ann Arbor against the Michigan Wolverines.