Jamie Lowell watched a cross float into his penalty area. The goalkeeper backpedaled inside the six-yard box as the ball fell into his grasp. But the simple catch quickly turned into a catastrophe.
The ball slipped out of Lowell’s arms as he tried to secure it. Wisconsin’s Markie Hrvojevic tapped home the loose ball for the lone goal of the match to sink Maryland men’s soccer at Wisconsin on Sunday.
“As [Lowell] lost his footing, I think he lost concentration on the ball and it popped loose,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “It was very unfortunate … It’s one of these unforced errors that we have been uncharacteristically causing.”
Maryland went undefeated on its way to claiming the Big Ten regular season last year, but are winless through the opening three games this season. Opportunities arose for the Terps to nab wins in their first two conference games against Michigan and Penn State, but defensive mistakes reared their ugly head both times — just like they did against Wisconsin.
In the first half of Maryland’s Big Ten opener, Michigan’s Quin Rogers launched a ball from midfield toward the Terps’ back line. Luca Costabile stuck his foot out to make a play on the ball, looking to control the high-arching pass with one touch.
But Costabile misjudged the flight of the ball. The ball bounced off of his leg directly into the path of Michael Leon, who pounced on Costabile’s gaffe. The Michigan forward sprinted in behind Maryland’s defense and buried the first goal of the game.
“We make a mistake and we go down,” Alex Nitzl said after the Michigan match. “In the Big Ten it’s even harder to come back after you go down … It’s not getting any easier.”
Maryland scored twice in the first half to take the lead, but a Michigan goal in the second half denied the Terps a victory in the 2-2 draw.
“One of the things you cannot do is provide easy goals for the opposition,” Cirovski said after the tie. “The ball that went through was one that we should have made a better play on. Instead, we laid it up for [Leon].”
Another blunder plagued Maryland against Penn State, this time resulting in a loss.
Terps goalkeeper Mikah Seger received the ball late in the first half, seeking to begin an attack near his goal. He sent the ball flying from one side of the pitch to the other in an attempt to switch the play.
Seger looked for Joe McDaid on the opposite flank, but he mishit the pass and placed it too far in front of the fullback. Caden Grabfelder latched onto the ball, quickly jump-starting a Penn State counter attack.
The ball deflected to Peter Mangione at the top of the box. The forward dribbled the ball into the box and made Seger pay for his miscalculated pass with a goal. Mangione’s first-half strike handed the Terps their first conference loss since 2021.
“Once again we had a costly mistake,” Cirovski said. “Obviously against an experienced team like Penn State, and especially with a player like Peter Mangione, they made us pay for it.”
Uncommon mistakes from the Terps resulted in losses, not wins, for Cirovski’s side. Maryland earned just one point from a possible nine, putting the reigning Big Ten regular season champions second-to-bottom of the conference table almost halfway through the season.