With a struggling Delaware group looking to steal a win away from one of the nation’s top teams, Hunter George stalled the Blue Hens’ hopes of walking out of Ludwig field with a program-defining win.
In the 14th minute, George put a beautiful ball into the box for a streaking Griffin Dillon, who made no mistake, heading the ball into a vacant bottom left corner to put the Terps up.
No. 8 Maryland handled business against Delaware on Tuesday night, defeating the Blue Hens 4-1.
Coming off a dominant defensive showing against a stellar Michigan State squad, Maryland looked to carry that momentum into a non-conference game against Delaware before traveling to Indiana to face its toughest task.
After George found Dillon, who calmly headed the ball into the netting from just outside the six-yard line past Blue Hens goalkeeper Adam Vik, the Terps looked to impose their will on a struggling Delaware squad.
“Great ball from Hunter,” said Dillon. “I didn’t really have to do much. That ball was served on a silver platter for me.”
Dillon added two assists to the scoresheet, totaling three points on the day.
“Obviously, coming in against an opponent like Delaware, we knew we had to come out and be ready,” said Dillon. “We did exactly that, came out, scored three goals in 30 minutes.”
Minutes later, Stefan Copetti got in behind the Delaware back line and saw himself alone but had his shot deflected away by Vik, his lone save of the night.
Copetti would see another chance later, this time, capitalizing, heading the ball into the bottom corner off a cross from standout forward Joshua Bolma.
With a 2-0 lead and complete control, George left the pitch to avoid the risk of receiving another yellow card, which would keep him out of Sunday’s game vs. Indiana.
George’s substitute, Justin Harris, took advantage of a Blue Hen’s back line in disarray, getting in behind and firing a shot off the crossbar and into the net to extend the Terps’ lead to three in the 34th minute.
Delaware failed to record a shot in the first half, making it three halves in a row without a shot allowed for Maryland, dating back to the Michigan State fixture.
“I thought the first half we picked up exactly where we left off against Michigan State,” said Coach Cirovski. “We had good energy; we held them without a shot for the first half.”
Going into the dressing room, the Terps grabbed a 3-0 lead after four shots on target and 54% possession.
Coming out of the half, Head Coach Sasho Cirovski looked to the end of his bench for quality minutes, hoping to get his team some experience before their playoff stretch.
“The plan all along the second half was to try to reward some players and rotate the squad,” said Cirvoski. “They were focused, and they played well.”
As substitutes took over for Maryland in the second half, neither side could get much of anything going until late, with the Blue Hens finally finding the net.
In the 86th minute, Delaware’s Orri Thorhallsson scored to avoid a shutout for his group, his fourth of the season.
But, just two minutes later, Mack DeVries scored his first career goal in his first game action for Maryland to get the lead back to three, closing things out.
With a 4-1 win, Maryland plays out its second strong defensive performance in a row, this time with Brian St. Martin, who got the start in place of William Kulvik, who was ineligible to play after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season last week against Michigan State.
The win marks Maryland’s ninth this season, going unbeaten in eleven out of the last twelve.
Kulvik and the Terps will be back to full strength for their match against Indiana in Bloomington on Sunday with a Big Ten regular season title on the line.
“We’re not happy that we haven’t picked up a trophy since 2018,” said Cirovski. “But, you know we’re playing for a trophy on Sunday.”