By Jake Pavorsky
Playing at Ludwig Field has been an automatic win for the Maryland Terrapins (3-2-1) women’s soccer team, and Friday night was no difference as they defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2-0 in the inaugural Big Ten home game in College Park, Md.
The Scarlet Knights (4-1-0) came into the contest undefeated and showed early why they boast one of the best records in collegiate soccer. Rutgers supplied the pressure early and often, making it tough for the Terps to hold possession of the ball.
Despite multiple early chances from the visiting squad, it was the Terps who got on the board early. After Lauren Berman drew a foul in the 21st minute, Shannon Collins sent a perfect free kick into the middle of the 18 yard box and right onto the foot of junior midfielder Maisie McCune, who gave Maryland a 1-0 lead. The goal marks McCune’s first goal of the season.
The Terrapins continued to provide the offensive chances, and struck gold once again with 19 seconds left in the first half. Miscommunication between Rutgers’ center back Brianne Reed and goalkeeper Casey Murphy allowed Maryland forward Natasha Ntone-Kouo to steal the ball and deposit it for another goal. The goal was the sophomore’s first goal of the year as well.
Maryland went into the half up 2-0, and that was all the scoring they needed for the night.
“I thought our soccer was real good in the first half,” head coach Jonathan Morgan said. “I was pleased to get two goals. Two goals that were kind of gutsy goals.”
The Scarlet Knights threatened in the second half but Terrapins keeper Rachelle Beanlands maintained a clean sheet for the evening with three saves.
“Credit to our kids. They battled, and even though the soccer wasn’t going that great in the first or second half, the found a way to get the result,” Coach Morgan said, who got his coaching start at Rutgers.
The Terrapins could not have asked for a better conference debut and now share first place with Iowa in the Big Ten. Morgan seemed very pleased with their first conference game.
“It was great for us to lead the university into the Big Ten. It was great to get the support we got,” Morgan said. “It was an awesome atmosphere here tonight, and to get the first win here tonight for our university is pretty cool.”
Maryland continues conference play next Friday, as they take on Michigan from Ludwig Field at 4 p.m.