Rachel Egyed channeled her inner Superman.
The Maryland women’s soccer goalkeeper dove and stretched his arms to deny George Mason forward Daniela Neves’ shot destined for the top corner. On the ensuing corner kick, she got low to keep out a header.
Her heroics in the final stages of regulation sent the Terps to overtime, where defender Jlon Flippens’ penalty kick ensured the Terps would remain unbeaten this season, beating the Patriots, 2-1.
“The first thing I always do is thank her,” Flippens said. “She saved our butts a couple times this game.”
The Terps (5-0-1) had been evenly matched with or often superior to their opponents in the run of play through their first five games. However, it was different against the Patriots.
George Mason (0-5-0) entered winless with just one goal in four games, but it dominated the opening 20 minutes. The Patriots’ three central midfielders swamped the Terps, who only had two in the middle to start.
Apart from a few counter-attacking efforts, the Terps struggling stringing together consecutive passes. Coach Ray Leone felt the team was making smart decisions but in the wrong spaces.
“They were outplaying us,” Leone said. “You can be outplayed, but we were still fighting and hanging in the game.”
Maryland absorbed plenty of pressure and was bailed out by the crossbar and later the offside flag. However, the bend-don’t-break philosophy worked, as the Patriots never put a shot on goal. Soon enough, the Terps found stability in the midfield and began to see more of the ball.
Their patience paid off.
A deflected cross went out for a corner and Flippens flashed the ball across the six-yard box with 1:23 left in the first period. Midfielder Hope Gouterman got her head to it and flicked it to the backpost, where midfielder Madison Turner headed it in for her first goal of the season.
“When you’re not playing well,” Leone said, “to get that goal at the end of the half was huge.”
Unlike the opening of the first half, the Terps controlled the first 10 minutes of the second frame. But they left themselves susceptible to a counter. Midfielder Rebecca Callison finished a sweeping move to equalize in the 56th minute.
“We got caught a little bit,” defender Sydney Staier said. “But it’s all about how we reacted.”
As the Terps tried to regroup, a loud chorus of “let’s go Terps” chants boomed from a section of traveling fans, willing them to grab the winning goal.
For the fourth straight game, they couldn’t in regulation.
However, in the first 10-minute period of overtime, Flippens sent a free kick into the box where it bounced off a Patriot defender’s hand. The sophomore stepped up to take the penalty kick herself. She deposited it past goalkeeper Louisa Moser to continue one of the Terps’ best starts in recent years.
“I pick the same spot every time,” Flippens said. “It seems to work, so I’m going to keep doing it.”