With only nine minutes remaining, American drove forward and midfielder Avery Klingensmith fired a shot from the top of the box that arrowed toward the net. Goalkeeper Liz Beardsley read the strike quickly and dove in the air to get her fingertips on the ball and send it out for a corner kick.
Beardsley was one of many players who made an impact on their debut for Maryland women’s soccer (0-0-1), which opened its regular season with a 0-0 draw against American (0-0-1) Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C. The Terps started this year similarly to last season, when they drew 1-1 at Temple.
In their collegiate debuts, freshmen Kennedy Bell and Madison Krakower showed why they deserved a spot in the starting 11. Bell held down the right back position for the Terps, shutting down American forwards from progressing play with her speed and strong read of the ball. Krakower produced Maryland’s only shot on goal in the first half, using her quick feet and silky footwork to weave through defenders.
“I think they got used to sort of the physicality of college soccer today,” coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer said of her freshmen class. “As a coach, I’m excited to see that our young players are getting a lot of minutes. And now, we just need to continue to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Transfers Katie Coyle and Lauren Wrigley also featured in Nemzer’s lineup with high energy. Both joining the Terps with ACC experience, Coyle fended off strong attacks from American’s offense with her speed and control. Wrigley’s stamina to go from end to end boosted Maryland midfield on offense and defense.
The Terps’ struggle to stay onside limited its attacking opportunities throughout the game. With American’s defensive line pushing up the field, the offside flag was lifted five times against Maryland, halting promising attacks that could have produced goals.
The Terps put immense pressure on the Eagles’ backline early. Krakower sliced a through ball down the left side of the field to Caroline Koutsos, leading to a perfectly placed cross in the mouth of the goal. Kat Parris met the ball with a header, sent it inches over the net for a goal kick.
“We spent a lot of time on set pieces because … I think that makes or breaks,” Nemzer said. “I thought the set pieces that we created were dangerous opportunities. Now we just gotta put somebody on the end of it and put the ball in the back of the net.”
Despite controlling the rhythm of the game initially, the Terps began giving the ball away in the midfield as the first half progressed, forcing Maryland’s defense to stay alert. By the end of the opening 45 minutes, American produced seven shots while a strong Terp offense only generated one.
Neither squad could capitalize on those chances, as the two teams entered the locker room at halftime tied 0-0.
The second half began in similar fashion, with the Terps on the pushing forward on the offensive end. However, American’s Lailah Stewart tested Beardsley with a powerful shot outside of the box that skipped past the left post after a promising attack. In her first game for the Terps, Beardsley held strong in the Maryland net with three saves and a shutout.
“They’re the ones who really do all that hard work,” Beardsley said of the defense. “I love playing with them. I think we spent a lot of time this week working together as a unit and I think that really showed today.”
Freshman Peyton Bernard was awarded her first collegiate appearance and yellow card late on after striking the ball away in frustration from an offsides call, one of two on the day — Krakower also earned a yellow card on her collegiate debut.
Similarly to the first half, neither side could find the back of the net in the final 45 minutes, condemning both teams to a scoreless draw to kick off the 2023 season.
“We got a point at the end of the day and a shutout … I think that’s big,” Beardsley said. “I think the major focus from today is to make sure we get three points when we get to Florida.”