After transforming Maryland women’s soccer in her first year as head coach in 2022, Meghan Ryan Nemzer’s main focus is to make her team a post-season contender after it finished 11th in the Big Ten last year.

Her guidance boosted a desperate Terps team from a 0-7-3 Big Ten record in 2021 to a 3-7 mark in 2022. With only two remaining players from previous head coach Ray Leone, Nemzer has a fresh roster featuring 15 freshmen and eight transfers to compete in a high-power conference.

“Ten years ago, we were the number one seed in the NCAA tournament,” the coach told The Diamondback. “But the team goal is to win a Big Ten championship … now the process has got to be matching that and not just the destination.”

Prior to Maryland, Nemzer was an assistant coach and later an associate head coach at her alma mater Rutgers. She helped the Scarlet Knights to 10 NCAA tournament appearances, a College Cup and a Big Ten Championship in 2021.

Last year, in her first chance to helm a program, she began laying the foundation she hopes results in similar success.

“Having a championship mindset is something that we’ve spoken about a lot and we definitely see growth on that piece of it,” Nemzer said.

The Terps earned their first Big Ten win since 2019 and first-ever win over Michigan in last season’s conference opener in a 1-0 finish. The lone goal, courtesy of then-graduate student Mikayla Dayes, was one of her final goals in her sixth and final season with the program.

[Maryland women’s soccer announces 2023 season schedule]

Nemzer doesn’t want her younger players to feel the pressure to fill the shoes of key players, many of whom, like Dayes, recently left.

“We have a lot of talent on this roster and now we need to figure out the best 11,” the coach said.

Among the new additions to the roster include juniors Katie Coyle from Notre Dame and Lauren Wrigley from North Carolina.

The two new ACC transfers logged strong times at their previous schools. Coyle contributed 1,020 minutes on the Fighting Irish’s backline in her two seasons, tallying four goals and two assists. Wrigley notched her first career goal in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament and logged 1,317 minutes over two seasons in the Tarheels’ midfield.

The Terps also landed senior Eden White, who played every minute on the back line for Santa Clara in the Broncos’ 2020 National Championship run and has already impressed Nemzer with her leadership.

“A knowledgeable center back who tactically and technically understands the game, who’s 23 years old and [is] now teaching some 18-year-olds what the expectations are,” Nemzer said.“… Everybody wants to hold that trophy up but she actually did, so to get her in the back line is a huge thing for us.”

Nemzer’s freshmen will also look to make a difference on the field this season. Three players come in as four-star ranked recruits.

[Recruiting roundup: Maryland women’s soccer lands commits in 2023 and 2024]

Kennedy Bell, the No. 34 recruit in the 2023 class, was named a 2021-2022 ECNL All American. Five-time Pennsylvania state champion Lisa McIntyre was the No. 122 recruit. New Jersey native Madison Krakower competed with the U-17 Puerto Rican National Team in its CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying and was eventually called up to its senior team’s national camp.

But the improvement isn’t going to just come from the roster. It will also come as Nemzer develops as a head coach.

Last season emphasized the value in developing the chemistry between her players and how that can develop into better on-field sequences. This made her change her coaching style ahead of this season.

Rather than starting her team’s training on the defensive end like most coaches, Nemzer took an unusual approach: focusing on the attacking side and building relationships through playing offensive opportunities.

The Terps’ results will not be perfect — Nemzer told her squad she doesn’t expect that. Rather, she desires perfection in her team’s attitude, effort and response.

“Everyday, they’re feeling more comfortable with each other, how they coach each other, how they talk to one another,” Nemzer said. “So just really focusing on those pieces of it, and how we’re going to continue to be consistent with the training, with the details, with the habits so that way it carries over to the games.”

Ahead of the Terps’ season opener against American Thursday, Nemzer wants her team to lay the foundation of a championship squad. To do so, they will focus on the team’s core values — competitiveness, attitude, resilience and effort.