After a 1-0 loss to Temple on Friday, Maryland women’s soccer coach Ray Leone said his team was overeager on offense.
Although the Terps had a 17-6 shot advantage, only eight of those attempts were on goal, and many came from too far outside to put any fear into the Owls’ defense.
The closest attempt, a 65th-minute strike by midfielder Hope Lewandoski from just inside the box, was the only try that troubled the opposing goalkeeper.
For Maryland women’s soccer to break its three-game scoring drought, it needs to improve its shot selection. But, as evidenced by previous struggles, that won’t be easy for a young team still trying to mature and find its footing.
“We have a lot of kids that are young,” Leone said. “So they’re the ones all amped up and like, ‘Oh my god, I thought she was going to catch me.’ And they had already beat [the defender] by three yards. They were in.”
The team has taken 35 shots during its nearly 300-minute scoreless streak, but only 13 have been on goal. In the Terps’ 1-0 loss to Drexel on Sunday, the team put just two of 10 shots on target, its lowest shots-on-goal percentage so far this season.
After the loss in Philadelphia, Leone said the younger players have shown the ability to connect on passes and finish chances in practice, but they’ll need to play calmer on ball to do the same on gameday.
“The biggest thing that we say to the younger players is that they belong here,” Lewandoski said. “There’s a reason why they’re at Maryland. There’s a reason why they’re in the Big Ten, and they’re a talented group. … They just need to go out on the field and act like it.”
Of the four players who have logged the most minutes for the Terps, three — defender Adalee Broadbent, midfielder Malikae Dayes and Lewandowski — are underclassmen.
Defender Jenna Surdick, a senior who leads the team in minutes played, said the older players have tried to pick up the younger players when they make mistakes in games and practices.
“The younger players get in their head a lot during the game if they have an off touch or they lose the ball or something,” Surdick said. “So we have to be there to be like, ‘Next one, you’ve got this. You’re a great soccer player. Everybody has a bad touch. Everybody makes a mistake once in a while.'”
Despite the Terps’ recent struggles, Leone believes the young players have improved during the campaign. The players and coaches have looked at game footage in recent weeks to analyze any correctable mistakes, which he thinks will make a significant impact in their maturation.
In their return to Ludwig Field this week, the Terps will try to minimize those errors — both physical and mental — before the team begins Big Ten play on Sept. 14.
“[They’re] making mistakes, but at least they’re trying to make different mistakes,” Leone said. “That’s all I want them to do. Make a different mistake every game. Don’t make the same one.”