Maryland women’s soccer failed to find the back of the net in its first two regular season matches, drawing American 0-0 and falling short to Florida in a 1-0 loss.
In 2022, the Terps scored at least one goal in each of its first two games of the season under coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer. Nemzer’s squad notched nine shots in their first two games this year — three at American and six at Florida — a fraction of the number they recorded in their first two outings last year.
While Nemzer said she was satisfied with her team’s movement to get the ball in the attacking third against Florida, she felt they struggled to capitalize on the opportunities they did create. For the Terps to score goals, their chemistry and communication on the field needs to continue developing.
Maryland consistently missed out on scoring opportunities after taking too much time on the ball. The Terps often lost possession while taking too many touches and driving toward the net, allowing defenders to regain possession.
“We’re looking for that perfect shot versus just giving that window of that soccer ball,” Nemzer said. “We’ll be a little bit more intentional of getting some more shots off at training.”
Only four of Maryland’s returning players saw time in the Terps’ offense or midfield on Sunday, while many transfers and freshmen made their Maryland debuts on in Thursday’s season-opener.
Ava Morales and Sofi Vinas combined for 32 minutes in midfield on Sunday. Morales scored two goals in 14 games in 2022 while Vinas notched a goal and and two assists in her first season with the Terps. Senior Catherine DeRosa ignited Maryland’s progression forward from midfield — she led the team with four assists and tied for the third most shots with 16 in 2022.
Maryland’s only other returning player to feature in the attack was Kelsey Smith, who was the 2021-2022 Gatorade Maryland Girls Soccer Player of the Year while in high school and missed her freshman season due to injury.
Smith registered a shot in 32 minutes of play on Sunday and creatively beat defenders with her footwork. Her ability to move the ball up the field and ingenuity in one-on-one situations helped Maryland create scoring opportunities.
Katie Coyle, who anchors the Terps’ backline, said a “lack of chemistry” in an offense rife with recent additions and young returning players hindered Maryland’s ability to get on the scoresheet.
“We have a lot of new people on top,” Coyle said. “I think we’re that final pass away from putting three or four in the back of the net every game. It feels like we’re so close.”
Coyle, one of Maryland’s many transfers this season, notched two 90 minute games on the Terps’ strong defensive line. Her read of opposing attackers helped her team keep a shutout in the season-opener against American and concede just once against Florida, a team that managed to register 10 shots.
“We’re just one step away, one final pass away from kind of opening up the floodgates,” Coyle said.