Coach Ray Leone wants the Maryland women’s soccer team’s offense to enter each contest thinking it needs to score two goals. The first-year coach said a ball will inevitably “bounce in a weird way,” resulting in an opposing score.
In each of Maryland’s three wins this season, the Terps responded to that challenge, recording three scores in their victories over William & Mary, Penn and Illinois. Forward Jarena Harmon recorded a hat trick against the Tribe and scored once against the Quakers, while forward Chelsea Jackson’s goal helped the Terps top the Fighting Illini.
Take Jackson and Harmon out of Maryland’s lineup, and the Terps have scored four goals this season, each by different players. But as Maryland’s Big Ten losing streak reached seven games with a loss to Indiana on Sunday at Ludwig Field, neither Jackson nor Harmon was in the starting lineup.
“They’re beat up, and they’re tired,” Leone said Sunday. “You don’t like not starting them, but we felt today we needed to do it on a Sunday. They fought hard until the end because that.”
Harmon, who left Maryland’s Oct. 13 loss to Purdue with an injury but eventually returned, and Jackson, who is fifth in the conference in goals per game, didn’t play against the Hoosiers until the 26th minute. The Terps offense struggled.
Maryland hasn’t scored since the 79th minute of its 3-1 loss to Michigan on Oct. 2. So as they prepare to host Iowa on Friday afternoon, there is additional emphasis on Maryland’s production.
“It’ll come,” Midfielder Hope Gouterman said. “The more shots you take, the more you’re going to score. Eventually, they’ll go in.”
Even with Jackson and Harmon in the game, Indiana outshot Maryland, 10-6. The Terps haven’t outshot an opponent since their season opener against TCU.
Early in the season, Maryland wasn’t concerned with its offense. Led by the two forwards, the Terps were shutout only twice in their first 13 games. After watching Maryland drop four of its first six contests and allow Navy and George Mason to tally five scores, Leone made defensive adjustments.
But because the offense hasn’t scored for 371 minutes, Leone has prioritized Maryland’s attack.
“This is totally different from the beginning of the year,” Leone said. “In the Navy game and games like that, the defense was poor. Then they started to get to the level of how you have to compete defensively. We were scoring in the beginning and letting up goals, but now we’re not scoring. We have two more games to try and do it.”
While Leone said some opposing defenses were attempting to eliminate Harmon and Jackson from Maryland’s attack by double- or triple-teaming them each time one of the two has the ball, Indiana coach Amy Berbary said the Hoosiers didn’t spend extra time focusing on either one.
“They’re good players,” Berbary said, “but in our conference, we deal with good players like that every game.”
Regardless, the Terps will likely turn to Harmon and Jackson to end their scoreless streak with two games remaining.
“We were more dangerous than we were last game,” midfielder Madison Turner said Sunday. “We were taking more shots from the outside. A lot of the offense we were looking for was off crosses. You don’t see as many shots. It’s hard to stay negative on this team.”