Ava Morales stepped up to the penalty spot in Maryland women’s soccer’s final nonconference matchup against Binghamton and slotted it past the goalkeeper to give the Terps a 1-0 win.
Morales’ tally on Sept. 10 is the last goal Maryland scored. Since entering Big Ten play, the Terps have been shut out in three straight matches and have only picked up a point.
Coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer’s squad has struggled to put its shots on target since entering conference play. Maryland has notched 29 shots in its last three games, but only eight have challenged the goalkeeper. In Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Ohio State, the Terps only put two of their 10 shots on target.
“I thought we executed the game plan on the attacking side of the space that we wanted to get into,” Nemzer said on Sunday. “Just couldn’t put a few in the back of the net.”
Peyton Bernard received a pass with her back to goal from Kennedy Bell early against Ohio State and spun to face the goal and break away from a defender. The freshman entered open space at the top of the penalty box but rifled a shot high and wide of the net.
In the Terps’ first eight games of the season, they averaged 12.8 shots per game and 44 percent of their total shots were on goal. In their opening three Big Ten games, they’ve averaged 9.6 shots per game — only 2.6 of which were on frame.
Senior Catherine DeRosa said the team has “amazing” forwards, but they need to focus on confidence in training to see offensive results.
“We need them to finish and this week, we’re going to be very intentional with what we’re doing and how we’re training,” DeRosa said. “I expect them to be extremely locked in and I know that we’re gonna get the results this coming week.”
Maryland’s overpassing and miscommunication has hurt its offensive production in its latest matches. The Terps often play a through ball behind the opposition without a target due to a lack of players in the attacking third. Many of those balls end up as turnovers.
Lisa McIntyre dribbled through midfield away from dangerous pressure on Sunday. She eyed Bernard and Lauren Wrigley, who both sped toward goal, and McIntyre forced an attempted through ball over the Buckeyes’ defense for them. But the freshman put too much pace on her pass, and the ball fell into the gloves of the Ohio State goalkeeper.
Instead of playing a risky long pass, McIntyre could have found an open Morales sprinting up the left sideline to advance the attack further.
Maryland’s scoring struggles have placed it joint-bottom of the Big Ten through three games, but Nemzer and the Terps believe they’re getting closer to putting the ball in the back of the net.
“Within practice and within little things, [the forwards] rise to the occasion,” DeRosa said. “They love the challenge and I think, now more than ever, they have a very big challenge on their plate.”