Ray Leone highlighted the Maryland women’s soccer team’s offensive struggles in the Terps’ 3-2 loss to Michigan State during the second extra time.
The Spartans led by a goal, but Terps forward Chelsea Jackson headed the ball into the net with 12 seconds remaining to force overtime. The Terps took 18 shots but struggled to execute.
The first-year coach felt Maryland’s attacking woes in that one-goal contest were clear, which wasn’t the case against Iowa. So when the Hawkeyes took a one-goal advantage in the 25th minute on Friday afternoon, Leone wasn’t concerned.
“It was a lesson, because Michigan State was more of a struggle for us and out of nowhere we tied it up,” Leone said. “Today, we really weren’t in that mindset. I thought we were going to tie it up. I really thought we were going to get it.”
But Maryland wasn’t able to generate any offense in its 2-0 loss, the team’s eighth straight. For the fifth time in as many games, the Terps didn’t score. Maryland’s scoreless streak reached 461 minutes, the program’s longest scoring drought since it was shutout in eight straight games in 2006.
Before the contest, Leone said he told the Terps that “there is nothing new to say.” Still, the offense was unable to respond.
Maryland’s best offensive opportunity came with about 43 minutes remaining in the game. Forward Jarena Harmon, the Terps’ second leading scorer who wasn’t in the starting lineup but played 66 minutes, took a shot near the bottom-right corner of the box. It sailed wide, and Harmon sat in front of the net for a few seconds after, her hands on her knees in disbelief.
“It’s hard to say the least,” midfielder Darby Moore said. “I just think other teams are more prepared for our counters. We don’t just want to be a counterattacking team. I guess it’s just trying to figure out how we play best. We can’t rely on one type of attacking style.”
Because the Hawkeyes dominated possession, the Terps (3-14-1, 1-9 Big Ten) had few offensive chances. Beyond Harmon’s attempt and forward Jlon Flippens’ high shot from 35-yards out with about 35 minutes remaining, Maryland’s best opportunities came on a pair of Moore’s cross attempts.
But twice, as Moore sent passes in front of the net, there wasn’t a Maryland offensive player in position to field it.
“It’s not a lack of effort right now,” goalkeeper Rachel Egyed said. “Something is keeping us back, but we’re fighting hard. You can’t ask for more from what they’re doing. It’s that last one percent of finishing a play through, whether it be a rebound or concentrating the last second. Obviously, we’re missing a piece.”
While Maryland’s scoring troubles continued, the defense, which hadn’t allowed a goal in the run of play for three consecutive games entering the matchup, allowed two.
In the 25th minute, Hawkeyes forward Bri Toelle fielded a pass on the right side of the box and deposited the ball into the lower-right corner of the net to give the Hawkeyes (8-10, 2-8 Big Ten), who before Friday scored two goals in conference play, a one-goal advantage they wouldn’t relinquish entering the intermission.
Maryland entered halftime trailing for the fifth time in as many games.
Hawkeyes midfielder Karly Stuenkel’s score in the 84th minute secured the win for Iowa, whose defense became the latest unit to keep the Terps attack off the scoreboard
“They’re probably trying too hard,” Leone said. “The shots aren’t on frame. The services aren’t good enough. I’ve never seen anything like it. We have to finish the season in a professional way. There’s no other choice. We need to get on a plane, go to Minnesota and play as hard as we can because that’s what we do.”