Article written by Thomas Hindle.
In the 73rd minute of a home match against Northwestern this Sunday, the Terrapins led 2-1. They were getting outshot 19-6, and the visitors were dominating possession. Northwestern midfielder Marisa Viggiano received a pass 25 yards from goal, looked up, and fired a shot that seemed destined to ripple the back of the net. Terps redshirt senior goalkeeper Rachel Egyed had other ideas. The Clifton, New Jersey native made an acrobatic save, tipping the shot over the bar and securing the win.
“She was just incredible today,” head coach Ray Leone said. “A couple of bombs Northwestern hit, some of those crosses… What an excellent game from her.”
It wasn’t the first time that Egyed helped the Terps to a win. In an up and down season, Egyed has been immense in goal. She has notched 63 saves through 14 games, poised to eclipse her 71 stops from last year.
“If you mess up, at least there’s a safety net. You have an opportunity to play with a brilliant player. She always [has] your back… I feel protected,” senior forward Jarena Harmon said.
Her string of highlight reel saves and record-breaking performances leaves Egyed among the top 10 all time in saves and goals allowed average for the Terps. Couple that with her being the first All-Big Ten selection in Maryland women’s soccer history last year, and Egyed is invaluable in goal.
Despite her resume, only recently has Egyed has been cemented as the Terps’ go-to starter. Last year, she featured in 18 games, but surrendered 135 minutes, and one start, to junior Erin Seppi. For the first five games of this season, she split time with Seppi. The team-first Egyed refuses to see it as competition.
“I look at it as an opportunity for both of us to get playing time at this level. I’m just excited for her,” Egyed said.
Egyed has done everything to make the position her own since those first five fixtures. Eight-save performances against UCF and George Washington, and a Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week selection earned her the spot for good. She has also embraced a captain’s role, serving as a mentor to a youthful squad.
“She’s a phenomenal leader. She inspires me every day. Her mentality and her drive to win is amazing,” said freshman midfielder Loren Sefick, who scored the game-winning goal against Northwestern. “She’s a big role model.”
The Terps will lose Egyed, Harmon as well as seniors Kady Benham and Jenna Surdick at season’s end, giving way to a young and vibrant group capable of continuing this year’s improvement. The future looked bright on Sunday, with Sefick getting on the scoresheet to complement Egyed’s standout performance.
“There’s just been gradual improvement over the course of the season,” Egyed said. “We’ve tried not to make the same mistakes twice, and get better each time. It’s clearly showing with these results.”
As the season winds down, the team looks to turn Sunday’s win, their first against a ranked opponent in four years, into a late year push. With Egyed dominant in goal, it doesn’t seem out of the question. Redshirt junior midfielder Darby Moore summed it up.
“In Rachel we trust.”