Back in the spring and summer of 2012, the Chesapeake Charge faced the likes of the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, and Western New York Flash with a roster that included five players who had yet to attend their high school senior prom at the start of the season. Three of those players – Riley Barger, Alexis Prior-Brown, and Ashley Spivey – had signed with Maryland.
It’s now coming up on four years later. Spivey transferred to Central Florida, and Prior-Brown, plagued by injuries, has used up only one year of her NCAA eligibility despite being in her fourth year of schooling. Barger, though, is one of a bumper crop of seniors who have defined an era at Maryland. She and seven others were honored this evening. The most notable names are Canadian Rachelle Beanlands , who has set Maryland records for games started and played by a goalkeeper, and defender Shannon Collins, who has started every game for Maryland (78 so far) since she joined the program. The rest: defenders Amanda Gerlitz and Kayla Shea, and midfielders Erika Joab, Maisie McCune, and Sarah Molina.
Unfortunately, it was a typical night for Maryland: the defense held out against a strong attack, but the offense was nowhere to be found. Wisconsin earned a corner kick in the 81st minute. Kinley McNicoll sent it into the goalmouth, where McKenna Meuer headed it down to Micaela Powers, who put it away. The single goal was all the Badgers needed to clinch a share of the Big Ten championship.
What happens when a resistible force meets an immovable object? Well, when the force is the Maryland Terrapins’ suspect attack, and the immovable object is the impregnable (so far) Rutgers Scarlet Knights defense, the result is a predictable 1-0 win for the visitors.
Rutgers is making headlines with their defense, which has yet to give up a goal in 8 matches this season (10 if you count preseason). But the offense wasted no time doing their part. Just over a minute in, midfielder Madison Tiernan took the ball from Maryland on the Terps’ side of midfield, brought it forward, then sent it to forward Colby Ciarrocca at the top right corner of the box. The defense converged on Ciarrocca, and she tipped the ball to her left, in front of an oncoming Samantha Valliant, who fired it in in stride past goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands.
I made it to two matches this past weekend, both hard-fought ones that could have gone either way, but in both cases Virginia teams prevailed over local teams.
The Maryland Terrapins endured a withering barrage of shots from the nationally ranked (#11-#15) West Virginia Mountaineers but held the visitors to a single goal in – surprisingly – the first-ever meeting of the two teams. The visitors outshot the home team 21 to 5 overall and 7 to 2 with shots on target. They also had 6 corner kicks while giving up none.
The decisive goal came in the 25th minute. Defender Carly Black sent a nice ball forward to Amandine Pierre-Louis, who found space to fire a rocket of a shot in from the edge of the penalty area on the right. Goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands was able to make the save but not hold onto the ball. She, defender Amanda Gerlitz, and forward Kailey Utley all went for the rebound, but Utley got there first and was able to tap it in.
An enthusiastic crowd of 1,420 – including the Mighty Sound of Maryland pep band, which played throughout the match – showed up at Ludwig Field for Maryland’s inaugural home match in Big 10 competition. The crowd would not be disappointed, as the Terrapins women downed the NSCAA #25-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 2-0.
Alex Doody ended last season at Ludwig with 2 goals and started off this one with 2 more.
The main question hanging over the 2014 Maryland Terrapins was who was going to score for them given that Haley Brock – the team’s leading goal-scorer for the past three seasons – had graduated and heir apparent Alexis Prior-Brown tore her ACL in spring practice and wasn’t going to be available until November at the earliest.
No answers came in their first two matches, a Friday/Sunday road trip to California in which they took on #1 UCLA and then Pepperdine without ever putting one in the net.
It hasn’t helped that Gabby Galanti is also hurt (but expected to return before too much longer) and Alex Anthony is only healthy enough to go about half a match. Then on top of all that, Cory Ryan broke her arm in the Pepperdine match. She got some minutes in these two matches but was wearing a massive cast that looked as if she’d stuck her arm in white cotton candy. “She doesn’t have great balance, she can’t really move that well. She’s just not coordinated,” said head coach Jonathan Morgan. About the overall situation, he said, “We’ve got to do it by committee.”
Even so, Maryland managed two straight wins in their first two home matches, first a comfortable 4-0 win over William and Mary, then a tighter, 2-1, win over North Carolina State.
Virginia senior defender Molly Menchel and freshman goalkeeper Morgan Stearns are happy with their ACC first-round victory but look for more
Going into the match, I thought the key was whether or not Maryland could put a ball in the net against the #1 Virginia Cavaliers. The Terrapins have frequently struggled to score this year, while the home team hadn’t allowed a goal in 568 minutes despite playing North Carolina, Florida State, and Virginia Tech – all top ten teams – in that interval.
So when just over four minutes in Maryland forward Hayley Brock scored a spectacular unassisted goal, looping the ball over a defender and goalkeeper Morgan Stearns from a sharp angle on the right, I thought it was “game on.” In retrospect, though, it seemed like that was the worst thing that could have happened for the visitors. After an initial rush of enthusiasm following the goal, all the drive seemed to fall out of the team.
Alex Doody is very happy after scoring two goals to lead her team into the postseason
It was supposed to be a celebratory evening for the Maryland Terrapins. It being their last home game, they were honoring their five seniors: midfielders Kristen Schmidbauer and Alex Reed, defenders Kayla Clarke and Megan Gibbons, and forward Hayley Brock.
But there didn’t seem to be much to celebrate. Boston College had won earlier in the day to lock up one of the last ACC playoff spots, and even a win wouldn’t assure them of a spot themselves, though at least it would put them over the .500 mark needed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. (The NCAA should perhaps consider making an exception for ACC women’s soccer teams, considering that out of their nineteen matches the Terrapins played eight ranked teams and six in the top ten, mostly in their own conference.)
It was even worse come halftime. Despite playing the last-place, winless-in-the-ACC Pitt Panthers and firing off ten shots while allowing none, the match remained scoreless. “It was frustrating because we knew we should have put a few chances away, and we didn’t,” said junior forward Alex Doody, who started in place of the injured Ashley Spivey.
The visiting Boston College Eagles got a goal five minutes into overtime from senior defender Zoe Lombard to edge past the Maryland Terrapins in a match where both teams needed to win to maintain a decent chance of getting into the postseason.
Going in, the teams were on the bubble for both the ACC and the NCAA tournaments. In the ACC standings, Maryland was eighth and Boston College was tenth with eight slots in the tournament. To qualify for the NCAA postseason, teams have to have at least a .500 record. The Terrapins were 9-8-0 while the Eagles were 8-8-1. So this was a big game for both teams.
Jordan Coburn (right) and the determined Hokie defense would hold Terrapins' leading scorer Hayley Brock (left) to one shot on goal
(Photo courtesy of Ken L. Harriford)
Coming in, it looked to be a tight battle between two closely matched teams, with the #21 Maryland Terrapins hosting the #23 Virginia Tech Hokies in their ACC home opener. But the visitors ended up winning easily, with only strong defensive performances from Terp goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands and defenders Shannon Collins and Shade Pratt keeping the score a seemingly close 2-0.
“They beat us in pretty much every category of the game,” said Maryland head coach Jonathan Morgan. “We didn’t put together passes. We didn’t defend very well as a team, just were really out-of-sorts. They did a better job coaching as well.”