Maryland returns home Thursday night looking to continue the momentum after tying on the road at No. 22 Wisconsin.
The Terps (3-6-4, 1-3-1) got a result in Madison Sunday with a scoreless draw, bouncing back after a 3-0 loss against Minnesota last Friday.
“I think [the team] is really growing, their mentality is getting stronger,” head coach Ray Leone said. Leone also noted the growth in his team from last season to the now.
Maryland will now look to pick up a win, something they have been unable to do in any of their last four matches, mustering two goals over that stretch.
“The only real missing piece is that we need to actually finish,” forward Jarena Harmon said. “We’re able to move the ball in the attacking third, now it’s just a matter of actually getting it in the goal.”
Harmon, the team leader in goals scored, will also look to get back on the scoresheet against Illinois (7-5-0, 2-3-0). After registering just two total shots in the last four matches, the senior has rotated from the starting lineup to coming off the bench throughout the season, but has been effective in both roles.
Leone swapped goalkeepers at halftime of Sunday’s match in Wisconsin, bringing on junior Erin Seppi for her first appearance since August 31 at Temple. Seppi made three saves in relief of redshirt senior Rachel Egyed, who started 10 of 12 matches so far this season.
“I don’t really see it as they’re taking me out because I’m not doing well,” Egyed said. “I look at it as a great opportunity for both of us to get playing time at this level.”
Egyed, who is expected to start Thursday night, made five saves last year in Champaign, which helped Maryland to a 1-0 victory – their only conference win on the season.
The Terps are still in search of a second conference win of the season, a feat they have yet to do so far during the three years under Leone. Maryland won their first conference match of the season in dominant fashion, a 4-0 thrashing of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“Everyone’s spirits are pretty high,” Harmon said about heading into the final stretch of the season. “And we go in [to games] with the mindset that any team could be beat… So if we just play hard, stick with the game plan, stick together and play ‘till the last whistle, hopefully those results will fall into our hands.”
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