NCAA: Maryland is Rutgers’ 8th Straight Shutout Victim

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.

The rout looked to be on in the 4th minute, as central defender Shannon Collins had to commit a professional foul on Valliant to keep her from getting a free run on goal. But the Maryland defense – no slouches themselves with just 7 goals given up this season – stiffened after that.

Valliant took a knock in the 13th minute and had to come out for the rest of the match.

The Scarlet Knights turned to long balls over the top for most of the rest of the half, which were no trouble for the Terrapins. At the other end, it took until the 42nd minute for Maryland’s first shot on goal, an attempt by substitute forward Lisa Bianchini from deep on the left that goalkeeper Casey Murphy had to tip over the crossbar.

The second half was much more even, though Rutgers was without another of their best players as defender Brianne Reed did not return after halftime.

Maryland had a couple of golden opportunities to break Rutgers’ shutout streak. Midfielder Cassie Phillips missed just wide left in the 62nd minute. In the 64th minute, the Knights gave up a free kick deep in their end but well out on the left. Midfielder Riley Barger sent it into the mix, where it came out but was sent in again, right to a wide-open Alex Anthony who from about 8 yards out just needed not to sky it to send it into an open goal. She skied it.

Rutgers’ best chance of the second half came in the 67th minute, when Ciarrocca took a chance from about 25 out down the middle and sent it off the crossbar.

Once again, Maryland dominated on corner kicks, 6 to 0, but once again they were seldom dangerous. Meanwhile, senior Beanlands tied the school record for starts by a goalkeeper with 66, tying her with Cailin Mullins (1990-93).

Maryland (5-4-0) goes on the road for games against Northwestern and Illinois before returning home on October 1 and 4 to play Michigan and Michigan State. Meanwhile, 15th-ranked Rutgers (8-0-0) has a complementary schedule, playing Illinois and Northwestern on the road, then Michigan State and Michigan at home, on October 2 and 4.

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