Maryland women’s soccer midfielder Hope Gouterman said she wouldn’t want to defend forwards Chelsea Jackson or Jarena Harmon because they’re fast, aggressive and not afraid to take shots from any distance.

While defending Harmon or Jackson, “you have to play the ball quicker or get on them faster,” Gouterman said. Opposing defenses feel pressure to rush to cover the duo.

Jackson and Harmon, who both transferred to Maryland before the season, have scored a combined 17 goals, making them the most productive scoring pair in the Big Ten. The Terps’ opponents have taken notice.

As Maryland prepares to host No. 19 Ohio State at Ludwig Field on Thursday night, the team’s offense wants to find new ways to score without relying on its top offensive threats.

“They are sending two and we’ve got to get ready for that,” coach Ray Leone said. “Just help them realize that when there’s two coming, you better beat them a little bit quicker before they send that second one over. This is probably new for them.”

In Maryland’s road losses to Michigan and Michigan State last weekend, the Wolverines and Spartans defenses attempted to eliminate Harmon and Jackson from the Terps’ offensive attack.

At times, the Spartans and Wolverines sent two or three players in Harmon or Jackson’s directions. They forced the forwards to try and field a “50-50 ball,” Harmon said, and limited the number of times the two passed the ball. Plus, the opposing teams focused less on their counterattack and more on limiting exchanges in Maryland’s midfield.

“[Teams] are doubling in and just in general making sure they shield off the pass to forwards,” Harmon said. “They’re shutting down our midfield higher up field. They play us faster instead of trying to use their energy [and] instead of trying to drop back to counter.”

While Harmon noticed the increased defensive pressure, Jackson said she hasn’t paid attention to change. Ahead of each contest, she and Harmon discuss how they can create opportunities for Maryland’s other forwards and midfielders.

Defender Jlon Flippens and midfielders Kate Waters, Cassie Phillips and Darby Moore are the only other Terps to score this season. With Jackson and Harmon drawing extra defensive attention, those conversations have become more detailed.

“We just have that eye for goal,” Jackson said. “We want to score and we want to win and I think it’s that extra push from Jarena and I to have that eye for goal that’s carrying [the offense].”

After Maryland struggled to maintain possession against both Michigan and Michigan State, Leone has emphasized keeping the ball this week in practice. Until the Terps can do that, he doesn’t want to alter the offense to account for the extra attention on Harmon and Jackson.

“You have to possess the ball a little bit more than two times in a row,” Leone said. “You have to get 10 so it moves defenses and opens up the game. Teams are doing what they do and we really haven’t made them change.”

On the road trip, Jackson overcame the extra attention, scoring all three of Maryland’s goals. But as the Terps create an offensive plan for a Buckeyes defense that has surrendered 18 goals over 13 games, they are weighing their other scoring options.

“It’s definitely apparent they’re trying to eliminate our offensive minded players,” Gouterman said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s their game plan. When we have opportunities on offense, they’re almost always a part of them.”