Maryland women’s soccer heads to No. 6 Penn State to finish regular season

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Maryland (0-8-2 B1G) will travel to University Park to take on Big Ten regular season champions, No. 6 Penn State (8-1-1 B1G) on Saturday at noon.

Maryland has struggled all season, and after its 1-0 loss at Minnesota has lost its last four games and failed to score in its last five games, amounting to 486 minutes without a goal.

Penn State just wrapped up its 20th Big Ten regular season title after a 3-0 win at Nebraska last Sunday. The title is the 11th for Penn State head coach Erica Dambach. The Nittany Lions are undefeated in their last nine games, and have not lost since their season opener against Rutgers.

Penn State is dangerous going forward, and leads the conference in goals scored with 26, six more than any other team. The Nittany Lions also boast the Big Ten’s top two scorers, redshirt sophomore Ally Schlegel and senior midfielder/forward Sam Coffey, who have notched seven and six goals respectively. 

The two players with the most assists in the Big Ten are also on Penn State, with the aforementioned Coffey racking up seven assists and senior midfielder/forward Frankie Tagliaferri, who has notched five assists. 

Maryland is 4-12 all time against Penn State, dropping the last meeting between the sides 1-0 in 2018.

This looks to be a dead rubber match, as Maryland is at the bottom of the Big Ten standings and Penn State is returning home after clinching the Big Ten regular season championship, in which both sides will aim to have a solid performance and avoid injuries going into Big Ten Wildcard Weekend

“I think we really want to get back to where we were playing two to three weeks ago,” head coach Ray Leone said. “When we had Rutgers and Michigan, we were moving the ball a little bit quicker. We started to improve in Wisconsin and Minnesota on that after a really poor performance against Iowa.”

Despite Maryland being winless this season, Leone still had plenty of praise for the way his team has handled a lot of the injuries and adversity they’ve been through.

“The resolve of this team [is incredible],” Leone said. “If you just went down the list of things that have happened to this team. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. And the fight that they’ve demonstrated in every single game, no matter who’s been out there, or what’s happened. I’m amazed and proud of this group, and the results are the results and I know it looks terrible, but on the inside, the fight… I will never forget this team.”

Senior midfielder Sydney Staier emphasized that point as well.

“This is definitely the most resilient team I think I’ve ever been on,” she said.

Maryland will hope for a positive performance against No. 6 Penn State before Big Ten Wildcard Weekend. 

According to a statement put out by the Big Ten, the format of the Wild Card Weekend and the Big Ten Tournament itself, including sites, matchups, and television coverage will be announced in the coming days.