Maryland women’s soccer midfielder Jlon Flippens likes to look to senior midfielder Hope Gouterman for motivation. She keeps her message positive and concise.

The Terps looked to Gouterman often against Northwestern on Sunday afternoon, but her words of encouragement didn’t translate into results in their 4-1 loss at Ludwig Field. After two early goals propelled the Terps to their first Big Ten win against Illinois on Thursday night, the Wildcats scored a pair of quick goals and never relinquished their lead.

In the 17th minute, Gouterman and goalie Katelyn Jensen spoke as they walked toward midfield. The rest of the team then joined the duo in front of the box.

Moments earlier, midfielder Kassidy Gorman scored to double Northwestern’s lead. Flippens lay flat on the field, raised her hands and slapped them against the ground in frustration. It didn’t take long for Gouterman to greet her.

“She said ‘We have to keep working and supporting each other,'” Jensen said. “We were excited after the win over Illinois and we wanted to carry that energy. She told us to have that energy and never give up.”

For more than 20 minutes, Maryland was able to maintain that tempo and keep the Wildcats off the board. But in the 40th minute, Northwestern forward Maria Grygleski was uncovered on the left side of the box. Her kick landed in the lower-left side of the net to give the Wildcats a three-goal advantage.

The Terps entered the intermission trailing by three goals for the third time this season.

“We’ve got to get our heads up,” coach Ray Leone said. “I don’t think we did a good job of closing down the hatches when they [scored twice] like that. We’ve had three games where we’re down three. They’re not concentrating well enough when they’re down two.”

Maryland capitalized on a scoring opportunity shortly after intermission. After the Wildcats fired three high shots in the first four minutes of the period, Flippens converted on a penalty kick for Maryland’s first and only score of the afternoon. Gouterman was among the first to greet her.

“When things aren’t going as planned, we always look to her, and she’s always positive,” Flippens said. “When you’re back there and your back’s against the wall, I like to look to her as a leader all the time.”

Still, Gouterman and the rest of Maryland’s defense couldn’t slow down an aggressive Wildcats attack. With about 10 minutes remaining in regulation, defender Kayla Sharples responded to Flippens’ score with a goal that gave Northwestern a 4-1 lead it held until the final whistle. The Terps were outshot 16-9 on the afternoon.

“We didn’t defend possession very well,” Leone said. “It would be easier to not let up two or three [goals]. But we’re young and making mistakes, and I’m not really discouraged at all.”

When Maryland begins to prepare for two Big Ten road contests next week, the Terps plan to emphasize staying focused after allowing quick scores. As was the case Sunday, they will look to Gouterman for guidance.

“We lost marks a couple of times, which led to some of their goals,” Jensen said. “It could have been prevented and that’s what we’re going to work on, continuing to prevent those opportunities. We had that energy, but we could have had more.”