Olivia Hicks jostles for possession (via Sideline Photos LLC)

Maryland women’s soccer dominated by Rutgers, 5-2

By Ben Strober

As Rutgers forward midfielder Riley Tiernan came dribbling down the endline, no Maryland defender got within five yards of her before she could dump it off to Frankie Tagliaferri for an easy goal.

It was one of many defensive miscues that plagued Maryland women’s soccer on the evening, as the Terps surrendered five goals to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a 5-2 loss.

Looking for their first win since September 2nd, Maryland instead found themselves winless for the 10th game in a row. Rutgers offense was too much in the early stages, and the Terps couldn’t keep up with the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers came out of the gate at a blistering pace. On their first possession, Becci Fluchel weaved her way through traffic and got off a good look at a shot. Fortunately for the Terps, it missed just wide left. 

Rutgers continued to put the pressure on Maryland through the early minutes. Through the first seven minutes, Rutgers had four shots on goal, and if it weren’t for a Liz Brucia diving save, Rutgers would have gained the lead early.

However, Maryland’s early stand wouldn’t last long.In the eighth minute, Brucia’s heroics weren’t enough to stop Amirah Ali’s strike from the right side in the box. Rutgers took a quick 1-0 lead off the score. 

Just one minute later, Anna Carazza fouled Fluechel in the box and gave them a penalty kick attempt. Fluechel made it look easy, and the Terps’ found themselves in a 2-0 hole just ten minutes in.

Even after the abysmal start, the Terps’ didn’t quit early. In the 12th minute, Mikayla Dayes took the ball up the middle and delivered a perfect through ball. Loren Sefcik collected the pass that whizzed in between the two Rutgers defenders and finished to the far post. Suddenly, Maryland trailed just 2-1 and had gotten themselves right back into the game.

Just minutes after the Terps’ goal, a large scram in front of the Maryland net presented trouble for the Terps. Brucia, who gained possession for a second, lost it, and Abby Jonathan came soaring in to finish on the open net. Rutgers once again regained a two-goal lead. To this point, Maryland’s defensive third was being torn apart.

In the 25th minute, another crucial mistake put Maryland down by three. Zora Jackson of Maryland tripped up Allison Lowrey in the box, and gave her a penalty kick attempt. Lowrey blew it by Brucia, the fourth goal conceded by the Terps in under 30 minutes. 

The fast pace of play by Rutgers seemed to be too much for Leone’s squad early. To this point, Rutgers already had ten shots, with eight of those being on goal.

With just two minutes left in the half, Rutgers nearly scored two more times. The Terps headed off the field for half down by three, and it could have been a lot more. Maryland’s defense appeared shell shocked by the speed of which Rutgers could move the ball in the defensive third. The Terps left themselves with a lot of work to do heading into the half in a three-goal hole.

Maryland got the first chance of the second half. On a corner kick, Rutgers goalie Megan McClellan made a leaping punch save on a nice ball by Sefcik. Three Maryland attackers were around the ball looking to head it in.

The deep hole grew deeper in the 55th minute, when Rutgers found themselves in the goal once again. Tagliaferri’s little dump in gave Rutgers their 5th goal of the night. The second half looked promising through the first ten minutes for Maryland. However, Rutgers quickly killed the little momentum the Terps had.

In the 59th minute, things nearly got even uglier, but Madeline Smith made a leaping save for Maryland to save a goal.

Maryland cut the deficit to three goals when Catherine DeRosa’s one time shot curved to the far post and into the net. Maryland was down big, but not ready to throw in the towel.

Even though the second half was a little better for Maryland to this point, Rutgers was still creating many scoring chances and showing a lot of what they did in the first half. Rutgers had 21 shots on the game, and twenty minutes still remained.

As time winded down, Rutgers continued to control the ball on offense and not allow for many Maryland chances at all. The game went final, and the Terps left the field 5-2 losers who just flat out got beat. In a lot of games this season that Maryland lost, they were games that the Terps’ looked as if they easily could have come away with wins. However, Rutgers completely dominated throughout the contest.

Maryland dropped to 4-7-4, and 0-5-2 in conference play. With just three games left, time is running out for the Terps to get a Big Ten win.

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