Maryland women’s soccer freshman forward Mikayla Dayes prepared to run back to the center circle and see out the final five minutes of the match after she scored a goal in the second overtime against Gardner-Webb.
Unbeknownst to her, the score ended the contest and gave the Terps a 2-1 victory.
“That’s how young we are, that they did not even realize that the game was actually over, including the goal scorer,” coach Ray Leone said while laughing. “All the sudden, everyone’s tackling [Dayes] and she’s like, ‘Is that it?'”
The Terps (3-0-1) faced their first overtime battle this season on Friday against the Bulldogs before playing extra time again Sunday at Furman. The latter ended in a 1-1 draw and the Terps couldn’t reproduce Friday’s magic moment. The team took the extra soccer over the weekend as a learning experience.
Leone’s team went to overtime three times last season, which resulted in one draw and two losses. His new squad is making strides toward better performances in the added periods.
The Terps proved they could come up big in an extended game when they came out victorious Friday, but Leone was impressed with how his team “defended hard” while goalkeeper Rachel Egyed made quality saves behind them, which included two important goal blocks in overtime against Furman.
The Terps maintained their composure despite the added pressure of overtime after conceding the equalizing goal in the 87th and 71st minute against Gardner-Webb and Furman, respectively.
“You have to adjust,” midfielder Hope Gouterman said. “We did a good job of keeping our cool and understanding the bigger goal ahead of us. That first tackle is really important coming out of when they score. Our response in terms of continuing to fight was just really admirable.”
The other end dealt with knowing how much each opportunity counts. A missed chance on the offensive end can translate into the other team notching the golden goal.
Forward Chelsea Jackson, who scored the Terps’ lone goal against Furman, said there was a focus on urgency in the overtime periods. Patience was important, but mental fortitude, trust in teammates and the notion that “it takes one shot” took precedent in the late stages of the match.
“Knowing that the next goal is going to be make-or-break for us, that gives us a lot of energy, hopefully being on the positive side of that like on Friday,” Jackson said. “It was exciting, and I think that gives us motivation going forward.”
The extra soccer also takes a toll on the players physically. Leone said he could sense the players were tiring — especially Sunday — as they neared 220 minutes of play over three days.
Jackson and Gouterman pointed to the team’s depth as a tool with the added exertions, noting the team isn’t thinking about fatigue. The Terps’ fight through the fatigue made Leone proud, even after they failed to grab the winning goal against Furman.
“This is the kind of stuff that we prepare for just in case we have to go into situations like this,” Gouterman said. “We definitely have all the resources in the world to help us, and we came out and we fought and we can be proud of that.”