By Emily Olsen
The final minute of the first half quickly ticked away. Purdue lead Maryland 1-0 in the first half Thursday night until Shannon Collins crossed a ball into the box. A scramble ensued and Aubrey Baker saw her opportunity. She tapped the ball into the goal to tie the score with 43 seconds left in the half. This was the turning point in the game and possibly the Terps’ season.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Nebraska earlier this week, Maryland captured a 2-1 win Thursday night against Purdue. This was the sixth Big Ten conference match for the Maryland Women’s soccer team.
The Purdue Boilermakers were first on the board with a cross and a one-touch goal by Makaela Nellams. Maryland gained control toward the end of the first half resulting in the equalizer by Baker in the 45th minute.
“To get that goal at the end of the first half is huge and gives us so much confidence going into the second half,” Baker said.
The second half had several corner kicks but no strong scoring opportunities. In the 77th minute Maryland’s Rachelle Beanlands made a huge save after a poor drop pass that lead to a one-on-one between Purdue’s Nellams and Beanlands. After the save Maryland had several scoring opportunities including the game-winning goal by Natasha Ntone-Kouo in the 83rd minute.
“Beans is amazing. I think when ever she has a big save it just motivates us to work harder for her,” Ntone-Kouo said in regards to the save before her goal.
With the win against Purdue, Maryland is now (3-2-1) in the conference and (5-4-2) overall. This win comes after a crushing 3-4 overtime loss to Nebraska where Beanlands had some uncharacteristic mistakes.
“Much needed result for us, Nebraska was a disappointing loss. It felt like we gave that one away,” head coach Jonathan Morgan said, “and so to come back out here against a good Purdue team who came at us really hard and brought a lot of intensity tonight, I was happy with the way we performed, how we defended.”
Confidence seems to be the key to the Terps’ future.
“It should come from your leadership,” Morgan said about several team members stepping up against Purdue. “Aubrey Baker, putting herself in a position—which is kind of physically getting her body out there—to go get that goal was huge.”
“By winning here today its really huge for our team and for our confidence,” Baker said, “we are getting more confidence in the attacking area.”
Morgan also commented on the more fluid flow of the Terps’ attack.
“When we defend well we are hard to break down. We are finally getting the soccer and the attack piece down,” Morgan said.
Maryland faces another Big Ten team, Indiana, this Sunday. Kick off is at 1pm.