With just under three minutes left in the match, Maryland women’s soccer had kept the Rutgers offense without a goal.
But the Scarlet Knights kept digging and eventually found their reward.
After good work on the left flank, Rutgers’ Sara Brocious found the ball at her feet after poor Maryland defending failed to clear. Without taking a touch, she rifled the shot into the top right corner, leaving head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer’s squad with a late deficit they couldn’t overcome.
The goal gave Rutgers the lead as Maryland fought to a 1-0 loss against Rutgers at Yurcak Field on Sunday afternoon.
Heading into the game, the Scarlet Knights sat at No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches ranking after their first defeat of the season to Penn State.
The game marked a homecoming for Nemzer, who spent 18 years at Rutgers as a player and coach. Despite the Maryland native’s familiarity with the Scarlet Knights program, her squad tangled with one of their toughest opponents so far this year.
Coming into the game, Rutgers’ offense averaged just under nine shots on target per game and only allowed six shots in every game they’ve played this season.
Maryland tested the Rutgers goalkeeper early in the first half, forcing a save after Mikayla Dayes was able to create space for a shot. The shot ended up being the only one the Terps could create for the half.
Rutgers registered five shots by the half whistle, but only one forced a save.
Fouls from both teams limited offense. At halftime, Maryland recorded six and Rutgers recorded four.
One important foul of the half came from Malikae Dayes. She brought down a Rutgers forward who found space behind the Terps backline in the 14th minute. The foul prevented what could’ve been the opening goal.
Rutgers kicked off the second half and carved out an opportunity that almost met the back of the net, but Maryland goalkeeper Emory Wegener was able to tip the ball away.
The Scarlet Knights followed this chance with another opportunity just minutes later.
Rutgers earned a free kick after a Mikayla Dayes foul. Rutgers beat Wegener to the ball, but couldn’t connect a pass. The ball fell into the grasp of the Maryland goalkeeper who launched her team on a counterattack.
Both teams still struggled to create ideal opportunities on goal through the end of the game — the 25 combined fouls between the two teams dwarfed the 12 shots the squads racked up.
Rutgers’ persistence proved to be enough as their late tally pushed them toward victory.
Maryland will return to the road to Wisconsin before returning to Ludwig Field to host Michigan State.