Maryland women’s soccer peppered Virginia Commonwealth with 14 shots and multiple huge opportunities to find the back of the net on Thursday.
The Terps were forced to settle for their third straight draw as Thursday’s contest against the Rams finished scoreless in a 0-0 tie after they failed to capitalize on numerous attacks.
“We’re learning together,” Lauren Wrigley said. “So just making sure we stick with it and knowing that those relationships take time, they don’t just happen overnight.”
Maryland’s (0-1-4) forwards pressed high up the field to begin the match, not allowing VCU’s (1-2-2) defenders to provide support in their attacking half. But the Rams consistently found a way to poke the ball out of the Terps’ possession in the midfield, giving them opportunities at goal.
The first half was quiet for Maryland. The Terps generated possession but struggled to connect passes. The Rams capitalized, making sure goalkeeper Liz Beardsley was alert. Beardsley came up with three saves on Thursday as she anchored Maryland’s backline.
But as time wound down in the first half, the Terps found their rhythm.
In the 38th minute, Kennedy Bell found a seam pass to Lauren Wrigley down at the goal line. Wrigley chipped the ball over a sliding defender toward the center of the box, which ultimately bounced back to her. Her second pass found Kelsey Smith only a few feet from the goal line, but the sophomore blasted her first-time shot over the goal.
“Kelsey came in when we needed someone to be strong,” said coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer. “Obviously a high pressing team, so sometimes you gotta be able to beat those players yourself off the dribble. Kelsey did that for us.”
The game was scoreless at halftime — Maryland managed to register four shots through 45 minutes, while VCU recorded three.
The Terps began the second half by taking on defenders one-on-one rather than having the pass-first mentality that they did in the first half.
“In our attack, I feel like in the first half, we were just trying to look to connect,” Wrigley said. “But in the second half, we looked to connect and go to goal.”
VCU’s best chance to find the back of the net came in the 54th minute. Wrigley attempted a backward pass to Katie Coyle, but VCU latched onto the errant pass and ran through on goal. Fortunately for Maryland, Kendyl Sarver blasted her shot high over the crossbar for a goal kick.
Two minutes later, Peyton Bernard found herself with space to take a shot at the top of the penalty box. Bernard, who danced around two defenders, took a powerful left-footed shot, forcing goalkeeper Allison Karpovich to dive frantically to her left to make a save.
Maryland continued hammering chances at goal. In the 63rd minute, Isabel DiPrima took her space on the left flank and floated a perfectly-placed cross to Lisa McIntyre. The freshman, who scored twice in Maryland’s 2-2 draw with JMU, couldn’t match the quality of the pass with her finish, as she skied the ball over a wide open net.
The Rams were all over the Terps in the last 10 minutes. Milica Bulatovic headed a cross that beat Beardsley in the 85th minute, but bounced off the left post. The scoring opportunity was one of many that both sides failed to convert over the course of Thursday’s matchup, forcing Maryland and VCU to settle for a scoreless draw in Richmond.
“I’m hungrier. I’m working as hard as I’ve ever done before because this is what the team deserves,” Nemzer said. “I have nothing negative to say about this team. They have done everything that I have asked them to do.”