Behind stellar defensive effort, Maryland women’s soccer tops George Mason

By Ivan Torres

Maryland women’s soccer coach Ray Leone is just one win away from his 300th victory after the Terps defeated George Mason 3-0 Thursday night.

The first nine minutes of the contest were highly contested until Maryland forward Alyssa Poarch split two defenders inside the box and booted one in the right corner for the Terps’ first goal of the game. 

“It was a little shaky in the first couple of minutes,” Leone said, “and then we hit a spark that carried us throughout the game.”

The goal ended Maryland’s two-game drought since the start of the season and launched a three-goal showing from the Terps. 

George Mason’s offense was ineffectual throughout the entire game, only managing one shot in 90 minutes. Four first-half saves from goalkeeper Morgan Symmers kept the Patriots in striking distance at the half, but it was only a matter of time before the Terps’ pressuring attack would wear down the visitors’ defense.

The second half was highlighted by junior Alexis Hogarth’s first-career goal in the 72nd minute, a deep lob from the left side that curled into the far right corner of the goal.

“It was an awesome feeling,” Hogarth said. “As an outside back, you’re usually known for the assists but it’s nice to know how the forwards feel.”

With a comfortable 2-0 lead, though, the Terps were not done yet. Forward Mikayla Dayes added another to seal the game in the 85th minute, cutting inside the box to her right foot and placing a strike right over Symmers to make it a 3-0 Terps lead.

Maryland’s defense recovered after allowing nine goals in the last two games, holding George Mason to just one shot — a free kick strike in the 43rd minute that sailed just above the top of the net.

“The defense performed great,” defender Julia New said. “I stand by our backline no matter who Coach [Leone] puts out there. I believe in this team and that’s all it takes to win games.”

The Terps will be back in action Sunday against George Washington, making the short trip to the nation’s capital to try and secure the team’s fourth win, and maybe pick up Leone’s 300th too.

Leone would become just the 26th active Division I women’s soccer coach to reach the milestone and only the second active coach in the Big Ten to reach 300 victories.