Olivia Reese kicking against George Washington (via Zach Bland/Maryland Athletics)

Maryland women’s soccer drops first conference matchup to Ohio State, 2-1.

By Ben Strober

For a team that won zero games in the Big Ten last season, Maryland women’s soccer was looking to show improvement against a tough Ohio State opponent. 

A game that featured domination by Ohio State still held a close contest late. However, a goal in the final minutes by Ohio State was Maryland’s demise in a 2-1 loss to the Buckeyes.

Early on, Liz Brucia continued her stellar protection of the goal. In the ninth minute, Brucia made a diving play to stop a potential Ohio State breakaway. The very next play, Ohio State had a clear shot at goal, but Kailyn Dudukovich missed wide right from point blank.

Through the first 13 minutes, the Buckeyes had the first four shots on goal. Maryland was still looking for their first big chance. 

That chance came shortly after when Toni Domingos was fouled from about 22 yards out. Domingos showed hustle as she has all season, generating fouls for Maryland to put her team in the driver’s seat.

Play came to a pause 16 minutes in when the Ohio State coach asked for the Maryland band to be moved. A very odd, and confusing delay ensued. After all the commotion, the band left the game entirely, a puzzling scene in College Park to start the match off.

Ohio State dominated early, through the first 25, they led in shots with five compared to Maryland’s one. Ohio State netted a goal, but it was disallowed for offsides. Multiple times in the first half, Ohio State sent through balls toward the net, and Brucia had to make multiple dives coming all the way out to stop the break.

With 15 minutes left in the half, Ohio State had a one on one with the goalie. Kine Flotre broke free and delivered a powerful strike toward the bottom left. However, Brucia made a remarkable save, blocking the shot, kicking out her right foot and deflecting it away. Ohio State was making noise, but Brucia kept things from getting ugly early.

Maryland finally got their first corner kick of the game when Mikayla Dayes made a nice play to deflect a shot off the OSU defender. She had no numbers with her looking for a pass, so the only play she could make, she made.

Things went sour for Maryland just a minute later. A scramble in front of the net left the ball sitting in the center about eight yards out. Christian Baumbick came in, and rifled in a nice strike to give Ohio State the lead going into halftime.

Ohio State finished the half outshooting Maryland 10-2. Maryland had generated very few chances, yet somehow only found themselves trailing by one goal heading into the break.

The second half didn’t start much better for the Terps. Ohio State quickly added three more shots and came dangerously close to scoring off a rebound. Maryland seemed stagnant offensively to open the half.

Ohio State played a very compressed defense in the middle. Maryland was having no success trying to play the ball through the middle. It seemed as though the only option for Maryland would be to get the wings involved.

Minutes later, Maryland did just that. Coming down the right side, Dayes delivered a beautiful cross toward the box where Kori Locksley finished it with her first touch to tie the game up. Maryland had not made much noise at all till this point. They got their chance, and they made it count.

With 18 minutes to go, Dayes nearly gave the Terps the lead. Dayes made her way around a couple defenders and took a powerful shot from about 18 yards out. Her shot just barely sailed wide of the far post, to Maryland’s disappointment.

Madeline Smith, who came in at half to play goalie, saved the day in regulation for the Terps. Flotre delivered a shot on net that was curving toward the right corner. Smith made a leaping save to protect the lead with under 6 minutes to go.

Heartbreak struck in College Park when in the 88th minute Ohio State executed a double give and go perfectly. This led to Emaly Vatne putting in a perfectly placed ball that Kailyn Dudukovich headed right into the back of the net. Time ran out on the Terps, and they dropped their first conference game 2-1.

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