The Maryland women’s soccer team began its season with two performances that provided optimism for the more challenging slate that lay ahead.
But on Friday, the short-lived win streak was abruptly halted.
The Terps finally met their match, falling 4-0 to Auburn due in large part to a first-half letdown where they were outshot 11-3.
With the Tigers coming off an NCAA tournament appearance in 2018, Maryland had its hands full in its first road game of the year. Auburn was aggressive out of the gate, earning four corner kicks in the first 15 minutes.
Maryland’s backline held firm, though.
The Terps were able to get off a few shots early — one apiece from defender Alexis Hogarth and forward Mikayla Dayes — but Auburn forward Jessie Gerow broke the deadlock in the 24th minute to make it 1-0. Three minutes later, the Tigers doubled their edge off a corner kick.
Maryland continued to struggle in generating scoring chances — a problem the squad didn’t have in its first two matches, having outshot opponents 44-9.
For as potent as Auburn’s attack had been, the Terps looked as though they’d head into halftime fortunate to be down just 2-0.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, though, Maryland’s damage control faltered.
After a foul by forward Kaylee Kozlowski, a penalty kick was awarded, and Tigers defender Sarah Houchin slotted it home for a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Terps continued to look shaky, with Hogarth picking up an early yellow card in the second half. And after Maryland conceded its second penalty — which was put away to make it 4-0 in the 50th minute — the game had been put out of reach.
Although the Terps began to find a rhythm, even outshooting the Tigers 8-6 in the final 45 minutes and forcing four saves out of Auburn goalkeeper Kate Hart, the scoreline proved insurmountable.
Maryland struggled to put away its scoring chances in its first two games of the year, and on Friday, the team’s inability to do so finally caught up with it.