Midway through the second half, midfielder Hope Lewandoski raced down the right side of the Temple defense, searching for an equalizer. The sophomore, looking to get the Maryland women’s soccer team on the board for the first time, ripped a shot from just inside the box.
The ball rose just above goalkeeper Morgan Basileo’s outstretched hand but clipped the top bar and went out for an Owls goal kick. Lewandowski missed out on leveling the score by just inches.
On a rainy Friday night in Philadelphia, the Terps struggled again to finish their chances. Despite outshooting the Owls 17-6, they couldn’t breakthrough in a 1-0 loss.
“The final ball [was] just not effective,” coach Ray Leone said. “We’re doing decent in the middle and the back-third, and then the final ball has got to get better, and that’s how you score goals.”
Although she failed to score on her best look at goal, Lewandoski put on an offensive show in her best performance of the season. Her six shots matched the Owls’ total as a team.
The aggressiveness by Lewandoski was uncharacteristic for a player known for her tremendous passing. She leads the team with two assists but had only two shot attempts in the team’s first four games.
“[Lewandoski] is definitely one of the most threatening players on the team,” Leone said. “Her ability to get behind people and commit — she’s dangerous there. And she’s been like that in every game.”
While Maryland seemed the stronger team throughout, Temple scored the game’s only goal after a great passing combination in the 38th minute.
After advancing the ball past midfield, forward Gabiela Johnson fed a dime through the middle of the Terps’ back line to forward Emma Wilkens. One-on-one with Wilkens, goalkeeper Erin Seppi left her line to cut off any scoring angles, but Wilkens flicked it over the outstretched arm of the junior keeper.
The start was Seppi’s third of the season but the first game she’s played a full 90 minutes of. Fellow goalkeeper Rachel Egyed played the entirety of the Terps’ draw against Navy the previous game, which was the first time coach Ray Leone used one goalkeeper throughout a contest.
Prior to the Owls’ goal, both squads spent much of their early possessions getting acclimated to the wet conditions. A persistent rain shower made the Owls’ home turf slick, causing promising advances on goal to skid out of bounds. Neither side could develop a rhythm, and chances were difficult to come by on the fast surface.
Before forward Mikayla Dayes’ and forward Alyssa Poarch’s consecutive attempts for Maryland in the 29th minute, both sides only generated a pair of scoring opportunities.
Maryland entered Friday’s matchup with the Owls looking to jumpstart an offensive attack that had been shut out in its previous two games away from home.
A promising home-opener against Appalachian State saw the Terps score three goals, but after another goalless game, that performance has been overshadowed by three zeros put up by the offense in their last four matches.