Maryland women’s soccer outclassed by No. 6 Penn State in regular season finale

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Maryland (0-9-2 B1G) lost to Penn State (9-1-1 B1G) 6-0 today in University Park. The loss is Maryland’s fifth in row, and the Terps now have not scored in each of their last six contests, amounting to 576 minutes of play without a goal.

Penn State was on the front foot immediately and scored in the 3rd minute after a through ball from senior midfielder/forward Frankie Tagliaferri found sophomore midfielder/forward Payton Linnehan, who did well to chip Maryland’s redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kennedy Tolson from outside the box.

Penn State doubled its lead in the 10th minute after Maryland gave up the ball poorly in its own defensive third. Tagliaferri pounced on the mistake and beat a Maryland defender before slotting it home from just inside the box.

Maryland had its best chance of the half in the 13th minute, when senior midfielder Sydney Staier got in behind Penn State’s defense. Her shot was saved by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Asman, and the Terps took the ensuing corner short to redshirt junior Alyssa Poarch, who’s cross hit the crossbar before being cleared by the Nittany Lions.

Penn State scored again in the 17th minute after Linnehan got to the endline and squared it to junior midfielder/forward Rachel Wasserman, who finished it first time into the bottom corner to make it three for the Nittany Lions.

Maryland created a few chances in the first half but Penn State dominated and held a three-goal lead at halftime. The Nittany Lions had ten shots on target in the half as opposed to Maryland’s one. 

Penn State extended its lead once again in the 48th minute through redshirt sophomore forward Ally Schlegel, who curled a shot past Maryland’s freshman goalkeeper Krista Varrichione into the top right corner.

The Nittany Lions scored their fifth goal in the 51st minute, after Tagliaferri found the back of the net for her brace after a good passing move by the Nittany Lions. Penn State showed no signs of letting up and found its sixth goal in the 55th minute after Schlegel rounded the keeper and slotted it into the empty net for her brace. 

The game fizzled out after Penn State’s sixth goal, with both sides creating a few chances but not able to find the back of the net. The Big Ten regular season champions ran out 6-0 winners, while the Terps are still winless heading into the Big Ten Wildcard Weekend next week.

While Maryland head coach Ray Leone was more focused on a positive performance than a positive result coming into the game, he was not happy with the heavy defeat.

“We didn’t play well, there’s no doubt about it,” Leone said. ”There were moments that we were really possessing the ball well, it’s that final ball where just kind of struggled with it, but that was one heck of a team that we played today.”

Key Maryland players Kennedy Tolson and Alyssa Poarch both went off injured in the 24th and 58th respectively. Neither returned to the game after exiting, and Leone wasn’t optimistic about either’s status.

“The hits keep coming,” Leone said. “That’s all I can say.”

Freshman goalkeeper Avery Rice made her first appearance for the Terps in the loss, playing the last 19 minutes of the game.

The loss is the Terps’ heaviest defeat since 2016, when Maryland lost at No. 11 Minnesota 6-0 in the last regular season game of the 2016 season.
The Terps’ season will conclude with Big Ten Wildcard Weekend, which is scheduled to begin on April 8. According to a statement put out by the Big Ten, the format of Wild Card Weekend and the Big Ten Tournament itself, including sites, matchups, and television coverage will be announced in the coming days.