When midfielder Anissa Mose scored her first career goal in the final moments of Maryland’s women’s soccer’s victory over Appalachian State last week, it seemed like a potential turning point for the team’s attack.
The slicing shot gave the Terps (2-1-1) a 3-1 advantage, and the offense looked completely different than the one that was shut out by James Madison the weekend prior.
But instead of capitalizing on their momentum, the Terps were shut out again by Navy the following game. After that, coach Ray Leone had the team focus heavily on scoring after spending most of the preseason working on defense.
“[Our practice] showed in the [Appalachian] State game. The Navy game just didn’t come together,” Leone said. “We only had a few opportunities … but it’s something we have to build on. When you’re defending the whole time, your fatigue shows up on the attacking end.”
In their scoreless draw against the Midshipmen on Sunday, the Terps managed just three shots in the first 90 minutes. They were constantly defending in the first half, and that scrambling meant the team was tired late in the game. After forward Alyssa Poarch’s 48th-minute shot, the team failed to get a look on goal for the rest of regulation.
But in overtime, Maryland’s offense came alive. Mose bended two shots just wide in the early stages, and forward Jarena Harmon hit the crossbar on a lob attempt over Navy goalkeeper Sydney Fortson. In just over six minutes of extra time, the Terps doubled their shot total from all of regulation.
During the overtime outburst, the Terps played out from the back, generating offense beginning with their defenders.
Harmon, who came just inches short of her third game-deciding goal of the season, said the Terps need to bring the same energy and ball speed they have in practice to game action.
“From doing passing patterns [in practice], to shooting, making sure that our bodies are in the right position when going to goal,” Harmon said. “If you see a practice, it’s a lot different than playing the games. … We have it, we just need to use it.”
[Read more: Maryland women’s soccer plays Navy to scoreless draw]
Harmon has excelled this season at being in the right place at the right time.
In Maryland’s home opener, her placement on the far side of the post on a shot by forward Mikayla Dayes led to an easy putaway on a rebound. The week before, she put away a similar chance by volleying home a ball after jockeying for space in the box.
For the Terps to be successful offensively against Temple (2-1) on Friday, they’ll need to bring the same execution and composure they had against Appalachian State.
“We were very composed in terms of what our body language was doing. We were communicating with each other,” Mose said after the Appalachian State win. “Just overall, not being frantic flipped the game completely on its head.”