When the Maryland women’s soccer team started practicing in the spring, coach Ray Leone had nine players to work with. Some players on the team’s 2015 roster, including leading scorer Alex Anthony, transferred. The Terps’ incoming freshmen hadn’t arrived.
The Terps developed chemistry to score in 11 of their first 13 games, but the attack struggled down the stretch. No. 11 Minnesota held the Terps off the board in their 6-0 win over Maryland on Wednesday night, to end the Terps’ season on a 551-minute scoreless streak.
Despite the club’s early offensive production, Leone said the lack of a complete roster in the spring plagued the Terps at the end of the season.
“We had nine people in January, and when you think about the things we need to do to be successful in the attacking third, that part has to be the priority,” Leone said. “There’s a real distinct reason we’re not getting these chances. The choices we’re making in different parts of the field are turning into counterattacks instead of opportunities.”
The Golden Gophers, who earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship with the win, ensured Maryland didn’t receive many chances. Minnesota, which hasn’t allowed a score since Oct. 13, dominated possession and held the Terps to four shots.
Maryland’s best offensive chance came with about 25 minutes remaining in the first half, when forward Chelsea Jackson found open space in the top of the box. However, her shot sailed just wide.
“It starts from one end and goes to another,” defender Hope Gouterman said. “It starts with being able to understand what everyone wants. It’s just a struggle we’re all in right now. We’re going to come out of it stronger.”
Maryland’s two offsides penalties disrupted the team’s rhythm, Leone said. But forward Jarena Harmon, the Terps’ second-leading scorer, said Maryland’s pace also resulted in the offense’s struggles Wednesday.
“The quickness,” Harmon said. “Speaking on my part more than anyone else’s, just getting the ball and actually getting the shot off.”
While the offense failed to capitalize on its opportunities, the Terps’ backline couldn’t slow Minnesota’s charge. Maryland didn’t generate enough possessions to respond to the Golden Gophers’ scores. It resulted in the team’s 15th loss, the most in program history over one season.
“We didn’t play a good final ball,” Leone said. “We did have some opportunities that just didn’t turn into goals tonight. There’s always room to play. We didn’t do a good job in key spots.”
As the Terps enter the offseason, Gouterman said the skid is “a good learning experience.” With the spring schedule ahead, Leone is excited to work with a complete roster and improve the offense’s woes.
“We got to keep working on it,” Leone said. “We have a lot of recruits coming in. That will be a big part of it, too.”