Stefan Copetti stepped up to the ball with the biggest scoring opportunity Maryland had so far in the game, a penalty kick in the 72nd minute. Copetti lined up the shot and fired, sending the ball left toward the post. Wake Forest Keeper, Trace Alphin, tracked the ball and just made the save, batting the ball away from the net.
That shot marked one of three shots on goal for No. 20 Maryland, who tied No. 16 Wake Forest, 0-0.
The game was the first meeting between the two teams since 2019. The Demon Deacons bounced that Terrapin team out of the NCAA Tournament that year, and today felt like a tournament game from the start.
The Terps and Demon Deacons started aggressively, flying up and down the pitch, possession changing fast. The high-octane style of play led to a plethora of fouls in the first half. Maryland registered ten and Wake Forest seven.
“Sasho told us before we got out there that it’s gonna be a chippy game,” said William Kulvik.
Despite the fouls, it was a defensive struggle for most of the first half. The first shot of the game didn’t come until the 21st minute. Joe Suchecki’s shot went just off target. The scoring continued to be at a premium going to the final minutes of the first half.
Wake Forest held two opportunities in the last ten minutes, a free kick and a corner. The Maryland defense stopped both with key plays to keep the ball out of the box, ending the first half knotted at zero.
The second half brought more offensive action for Maryland. The Terps registered eight shots in the second half, one of them being the Copetti penalty. Max Riley contributed a couple of shots that couldn’t find the back of the net, one of which went just high. Justin Harris was the third Terp with a shot on goal. All three of Terps’ shots on goal came in the second half.
“We have to get better in the final third, we have to get better with getting people on the end of crosses and getting the ball in the back of the net,” said head coach Sasho Cirovski. “I think those things come though. I actually am very pleased with where we are as a team because I know those will come.”
The Maryland defense picked up for the lack of scoring allowing only seven shots, none on goal. The defense was boosted by the return of senior midfielder Alex Nitzl. Nitzl was absent in the team’s first two games of the season but played sixty minutes in his debut.
“When he’s out there you can feel his energy at all times,” said Kulvik. “He’s talking to you all the time and it’s comfortable to play with him. ”
The Terps will have a quick turnaround as they head to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take on the Virginia Cavaliers on Monday.