As Ohio State forward Kayla Fischer rose to meet a cross at the back post late in overtime Sunday, the Buckeyes’ bench rose their arms into the air, anticipating a golden goal coming from the header.
But Maryland women’s soccer goalkeeper Rachel Egyed watched as the ball skipped just past her post, ending a hectic sequence that began with a scrum inside the six-yard box but concluded harmlessly with a goal kick. Late in added time, Ohio State had produced the majority of looks on goal, but neither side found a breakthrough.
After a 39th-minute goal, the Terps couldn’t maintain their advantage, allowing an early second-half score. And after 110 minutes of play, the Terps and Buckeyes remained deadlocked at 1-1.
“It was a wild game,” coach Ray Leone said. “It was mentally and physically demanding, maybe more than any we’ve played, and Ohio State at home is a tough team to beat.”
When Ohio State (7-5-3, 4-2-3 Big Ten) defender Haley Walker-Robinson cut off a Maryland (4-8-5, 2-5-2) counter-attack attempt with just minutes remaining in the first half, it appeared as if the Buckeyes were set up for an easy clearance and the Terps were bound for another scoreless first half.
But forward Jarena Harmon refused give up on the play. The senior fought Walker-Robinson for possession deep in the Ohio State box, won the challenge and sent a well-timed feed to forward Emily McNesby in front of goal.
With no Buckeyes defenders in the vicinity, McNesby calmly placed a shot in the back of the net past the dive of goalkeeper Devon Kerr, giving the Terps a 1-0 first-half advantage on the opening goal of her career. However, shortly after the break, the Buckeyes equalized.
Minutes after halftime, a foul from midfielder Hope Lewandoski just outside her defensive box set defender Izzy Rodriguez up with a set piece from a dangerous position. The left-footed Rodriguez ripped a curling try around the Maryland wall, and her attempt rattled off the frame and fell across the line as a helpless Egyed could do nothing but watch Ohio State level the score.
The Terps were called for 10 fouls against the Buckeyes, but none were more detrimental than Lewandoski’s. Rodriguez’s shot was “a perfect ball,” Leone said, but he still feels the goal was preventable.
“It’s the foul before that you have to [avoid],” Leone said. “We did that a few times, bad fouls in bad places, so we have to focus on that. And I think that’s fatigue.”
In Maryland’s’ loss to Penn State on Friday, the Terps struggled to touch the ball throughout a one-sided first half. A combination of the Nittany Lions’ strong play and the Terps’ sloppiness on the frontline prevented the team from earning many countering chances.
However, from the opening whistle against the Buckeyes, Maryland executed its gameplan. The Terps backline consistently kept Ohio State at bay, and, when they gained possession, found the team’s athletic forwards and midfielders with space to counter.
Maryland equaled the Buckeyes’ seven shots in the first half — a vast improvement from the 11-3 first-half disparity against Penn State — and opened up play even more by outshooting Ohio State 7-5 in the second half. Still, though, the Terps couldn’t hold on to their first-half lead.
“I’m not satisfied with the point, but it was probably a fair result for us,” Leone said. “We just have to keep improving. There’s a lot to improve from this weekend, particularly [from] this game.”