Olivia Hicks jostles for possession (via Sideline Photos LLC)

Maryland women’s soccer allows last-second goal, draws with Northwestern, 1-1.

By Ben Strober

For a moment, it seemed as if Maryland women’s soccer would be getting its first Big Ten win since October 24th, 2019,. However, Francesca Docters of Northwestern scored a game tying goal with 23 seconds left to shatter the Terps’ hearts. 

Docters’ late strike forced a double overtime 1-1 draw, as Maryland moved to 4-3-4 with its second straight tie.

“We played at a high level, and I’m proud of the way they played. Especially after an overtime game.” coach Ray Leone said following the draw.

The game picked up at a fast pace early on. After a couple counter attacks by each team, Northwestern got the first corner of the game. Emma Phillip’s delivered a half-volley that just sailed past the right post. 

Alyssa Poarch then was awarded a free kick for the Terps, which she made a low shot that Mackenzie Wood had to dive to her left to block down. A good chance for Maryland, but to this point they hadn’t seen a chance like they had seen against Nebraska.

Maryland’s defense in front of Liz Brucia started off strong. Northwestern attempted to make plays down the sidelines, but Malikae Dayes made multiple strong tackles to keep the ball away from Brucia.

Maryland’s best chance to this point was short lived. Toni Domingos made a nutmeg on the defender and began to make a sprint toward the goal. Northwestern’s defender came sprinting over, and physically pushed her right over. No foul was called, and the Terps’ bench became livid.

“The game looked fun today. It was disrupted by 27 fouls though. Too many fouls today,” Leone said.

As the first half came to a close, many parallels to the recent games could be seen. Once again, Maryland had double the amount of shots than Northwestern, but still, they could not get on the board. The half had no score, and the Terps’ were in desperate need of a spark on offense.

Offensive struggles continued early in the next half. Sefcik received a beautiful ball that snuck behind the defense. She then instead of taking the open shot, opted to play the ball back toward the middle where nobody was. 

However, Sefcik quickly made up for her mistake. Alyssa Poarch put a ball right into the middle of the box where the goalie had to come a long way out. Sefick was too fast for Wood, and she finished it right past her sliding attempt. The Terps’ finally got that goal they had been struggling to secure recently.

“I was very frustrated on Thursday. Couldn’t get one in against Nebraska, but I really worked hard in practice and stayed mentally focused.” Sefcik said after the game.

In the second half, Maryland was losing a lot of 50-50 balls because they were letting Northwestern outrun them. This allowed Northwestern to stop a lot of Maryland counter attacks easily.

Madeline Smith came into play goalie for the second half for the 5th game in a row. In the 70th minute, she made a big save, shutting down the Northwestern breakaway and protecting the lead.

In the 78th minute, Alyssa Poarch’s knee buckled as she stepped back, and she had to leave the game after suffering on the ground in pain. A brutal loss for the Terps, as Poarch had notched the only assist for Maryland’s offense in the contest thus far.

Just when Maryland looked as if they had done it, the unthinkable occurred. With 23.9 seconds to go, Northwestern found their goal after a beautiful cross left the net open for Docters to finish it. 

And once again, overtime.

Neither team was able to break through in either overtime period, and Maryland once again found themselves leaving not as a loser, but also not a winner. 

After the first two conference games, Mayland is 0-0-2. Both those games were right there for the Terps, but they couldn’t finish the job.

“We’ll find a way to fill up the gas tank, I can promise you that. This team is not quitters, they’re fighters,” Leone said.

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