Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Terps take down first ranked opponent in four years against No. 14 Northwestern

In one of their best performances this season, the Terrapins beat No. 14 Northwestern on Senior Day in College Park.

“I’m just so happy for them because they’ve just worked so hard in every single game,” Maryland head coach Ray Leone said. “They finally got a deserved result, they really played well today.”

The win is Maryland’s first against a ranked opponent since 2014, and the first under Leone. This is also the first time under the coach that they have won multiple conference games in the same season. The Terrapins beat Iowa 4-0 in the opening match of Big Ten play on September 14, it was also the last time they won a match.

Sunday was also Senior Day at Ludwig Field, despite the Terrapins having one more home match remaining. Seniors Jarena Harmon, Rachel Egyed, Kady Badham and Jenna Surdick were honored before the match and were all featured in the starting lineup.

“They played really, really hard and you can tell,” Leone said, “Everyone was really fired up for them.”

Harmon opened the scoring for the Terps a little less than 16 minutes into the match as her attack partner Darby Moore slid a ball in to Harmon, and Harmon lifted the ball into the top right corner. The goal was Harmon’s sixth of the season, which leads the team.

Harmon’s goal also snapped a more than 300-minute goalless streak for Maryland, and provided an early boost for a team that was winless in their last five matches.

“We are pretty energetic as soon as we score, and we look to maintain that,” Harmon said.

Less than 20 minutes later, the Terps doubled their lead as freshman Loren Sefcik scored her first career goal by lofting a shot over Northwestern goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood from a narrow angle. Sefcik did well to get her foot around a ball played in by midfielder Hope Lewandowski, and placed it perfectly over the head of Wood.

The two goals came as Leone changed his team’s formation for the match, moving from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2, notably moving usual-centerback Adalee Broadbent to a central defensive midfield role, and keeping two strikers in the center of the field. Both goals scored for Maryland were by players slotted in the striker position.

“We weren’t scoring,” Leone said, “We just tried to change the formation and still have pretty much the same players out there. [The team] embraced it, went for it and played really well.”

Maryland now heads on the road for a three game road trip, the first of which being Friday at Penn State.