By: Joe Catapano
The Maryland Women’s Soccer team was outscored 14-6 during their five-game losing streak, dating back to its overtime loss to No. 25 Pepperdine. But on Thursday night, for the first time since August 28, the Terrapins headed into halftime with a lead.
Maryland, following a 1-0 loss to No. 22 Rutgers in the Big Ten opener, scored three first-half goals against Illinois to spark a 3-1 win. The victory marks Maryland’s first win at home this season.
“That was fun,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said after the game. “It was really good for our program.”
Maryland started the game off with two goals in the first five minutes. In the 4th minute, Madison Turner played a ball on the ground past an Illinois defender. Jarena Harmon controlled the pass and slotted the ball over the sliding goalkeeper and into the lower left hand corner of the net.
“It was awesome to see [the ball] go through,” Turner said. “And then Jarena just putting it back in the net. It was great.”
Just one minute later, Turner recorded another assist. She crossed a ball into the box where Chelsea Jackson was waiting, heading it in for her fifth goal of the season. Turner’s pair of assists are her first two of the season.
“She was explosive,” Leone said about Turner’s play. “What a great performance from her tonight.”
Katelyn Jensen made her third straight start in goal tonight, but has yet to be officially named Maryland’s full-time starter. Jensen played arguably her best game of the season, recording seven saves, many of which came in the second half to preserve the lead. Illinois outshot Maryland 11-3 in the second half.
The Fighting Illini scored its lone goal in the 9th minute when Allison Stucky’s shot from just inside the box flew past Jensen. But the Terrapins responded 15 minutes later on a wild play. Jlon Flippens played a free kick into the box, where Jackson put her head to the ball once again. The shot hit the post, but Harmon was there for the rebound. Her diving header attempt resulted in her second goal of the night and her 8th of the season.
Harmon now has more goals in 10 games than she did last year in 18 games with Pittsburgh.
“This team pushes you to the limits,” Harmon said. “They’re always expecting you to do your best.”
Last year, Maryland scored 17 goals in its 19 games. With their three goals tonight, the Terrapins have matched that number in just 10 games, thanks to the dynamic duo of Harmon and Jackson.
Maryland (3-6-1, 1-1 Big Ten) now only has two full days to prepare for undefeated Northwestern. The Terrapins will take on Wildcats at 1 p.m. this Sunday at Ludwig Field.