Loren Sefcik jostles for position (via Zach Bland/Maryland Athletics)

Maryland Women’s soccer draws with Penn, 1-1

By Ben Strober

For the second time in just four days, Maryland Women’s soccer found themselves in another dog fight, as they drew Penn 1-1 at Ludwig Field.

Just like against Saint Joseph’s, Maryland was outplayed much of this game. However, just like last Sunday, Maryland found themselves leaving the field with an exhausting draw.

Unlike Sunday’s two-overtime 0-0 draw against Saint Joseph’s, it didn’t take long for the scoring to open. Penn started things off when a strike nailed the left post, but rebounded directly to Penn’s Abbey Duncan. Maryland keeper Liz Brucia had no chance, and Duncan finished to give Penn the 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

Coming off their sloppy second half last game, Maryland, continued their struggle controlling the ball, and were being dominated in many aspects. Through the first 10 minutes, Penn had already forced three corner kicks. Maryland with just one at the time. Turnovers were becoming a noticeable error early. Maryland’s passes were often off-target or erratic. 

The Terps’ first major chance of the game came with 29 minutes left in the first half. On a pass back to Penn goalie Laurence Gladu, her clear attempt was blocked by a Maryland striker. As the ball fell onto the feet of Brooke Weston, only one Penn defender stood in the way. Ultimately, the shot was off balance and went wide left.

Two minutes later, Maryland found themselves back in the game when Mori Sokoloff tied the game 1-1 on a free kick from nearly midfield. Penn’s keeper misjudged the long ball, and Sokoloff’s shot found the back of the net. A major miscue for Penn, but a break that Maryland needed, as the offense stalled. 

“Fantastic,” Head Coach Ray Leone said. “Penn was really bringing the house and we responded.”

After the slow start, Maryland began to put some pressure on Penn’s defense. The Terps also showed much more aggression, and were making more plays on the 50-50 balls.

Penn began to take back some control to close out the half. However, Maryland’s defensive unit showed great poise keeping anything from getting near Brucia. The game headed into half all tied up at 1-1. 

Once again, the defense was holding stout.

“I think we did what we needed to do,” Olivia Hicks told reporters. “Everyone stepped up in that position and did their job.” 

Penn had the advantage at half with eight shots, compared to Maryland’s four. However, only two of Penn’s shots were on goal. Maryland had the two of their four shots on goal. Both Brucia and Gladu each had one save. So far, the goalie miscue by Gladu was the reason Penn didn’t head into half with the lead.

Mikayla Dayes quickly made her presence felt in the second half. Dayes delivered a beautiful shot towards the top left corner, but Gladu made a leaping save to eliminate the chance.

In a major change for Maryland in the second, Madeline Smith entered the game at keeper, replacing Brucia. Smith was making her first appearance in goal for Maryland this season. She immediately contributed, making a nice save with 35 minutes left in the game. Then again, two minutes later, Smith found herself making another save, this time diving to her left.

“They’re two fantastic keepers,” Leone said. “I wanted to get Smith some time out there before we get into Big 10 play.”

Through the first 15 minutes of the second half, Penn was more in control, just as they were early in the game.

With 30 minutes to go, the ball bounced off Smith and was left sitting in front of an open net. Fortunately for Maryland, the follow up attempt sailed high, and the game was still tied. Smith, thus far, was doing a stellar job holding the lead.

As the game headed into its final 20 minutes, Maryland had been outplayed greatly in the second half. Penn had multiple scoring chances, but Smith looked confident in goal for Maryland.

In the final minutes, both teams’ defense was strong and didn’t allow for anyone to leave with a win in regulation.  However, the offense for Maryland was struggling to finish their chances late in the game. For the second straight game, the Terps headed to overtime. 

“We’ve got to get back to playing smarter in the final third,” Leone said.“We’re creating a lot of chances, but we’re not making it count.”

In the first overtime, both teams showed the fatigue of playing 90 minutes.

With three minutes to go in the first overtime, Kori Locksley nearly won Maryland the game. After a nice through ball, she made her way through multiple defenders and hit the right post with a powerful strike. 

Nevertheless, neither team could score in that period, and another overtime was needed.

An early chance in the second extra period for Maryland came when Domingos went one on one with a defender. However, once again, too many touches ended the attack. Penn then countered with an attack of their own, but Maryland defense held down the box.

With one minute remaining, Janae Stewart almost won the game for Penn, but her shot found the crossbar, and not the back of the net. 

Maryland finished with 13 shots on the night, while Penn was able to rack up more with 18. Smith had five saves alone for Maryland in the second half. That’s the same as Gladu had all night. 

 “[We have to] win the aerial battle [going forward],” Leone said. “When you aren’t winning the aerial battle, everything falls apart from there.”

With now their second draw in a row, Maryland gets some much needed rest before taking on Wake Forest this Sunday.