Kennedy Bell sprinted into the attacking zone with only a defender between her and the penalty box in the 57th minute. The freshman hammered a right-footed strike near post that struck the crossbar and trickled out for a Michigan State goal kick.
Bell’s opportunity was ultimately one of just three of Maryland women’s soccer’s chances at scoring its first goal in four games.
Michigan State’s offensive dominance was too much for Maryland in a 5-0 loss, the Terps’ largest loss of the season. They’ve gone scoreless in all Big Ten matches, games coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer knows she must do a better job preparing for,
“I think we came in with a game plan and they got an early goal,” Nemzer said. “…I think we look a little bit tired…so it’s now it’s our job to get a recovery.”
It took only 10 minutes for Michigan State (8-2-2, 3-0-1 Big Ten) to find the back of the net.
Justina Gaynor found space on the left side of the pitch and sent a cross to a surging Gabby Mueller, who strided past the Terps’ backline. Mueller’s left footed strike entered the far side net to give the Spartans an early 1-0 lead.
The Michigan State offense earned its brace in the 15th minute off the corner kick. Regan Dalton aimed the ball near the penalty spot. It found the head of Jordyn Wickes, who redirected the ball toward the top left corner over the head of a jumping Lauren Wrigley to double the Spartans lead.
Michigan State grew its advantage again in the 19th minute. Dalton served another corner kick, this time finding the far post. Zivana Labovic headed the ball down to the pitch and watched it bounce into the top right corner of the net past two Terp defenders and goalkeeper Liz Beardsley.
“We wanted to be attacking,” Nemzer said. “…I got to go back and watch some film and see where we messed up on that piece. I don’t want to be defensive.”
Maryland (3-4-5, 0-3-1 Big Ten) struggled in the attacking third in the limited chances it got. In the 27th minute, Wrigley worked off a quick pass from Lisa McIntyre entering the penalty box. Wrigley searched for a shot angle by dancing around two Spartan defenders but turned the ball over before any teammates reached the offensive zone to support her.
Despite suffering goals early, Beardsley admirably anchored the net for the Terps in the first half. In the 15th minute, Beardsley faced a one-on-one look at the net before she dove to her left and deflected the ball away.
That was her lone save off 10 Michigan State first half shots, while Maryland took only one shot, a disparity that produced a 3-0 Michigan State halftime lead.
“We need to work on winning those first and second balls to make it a bit easier on the backs and Liz,” Katie Coyle said.
Michigan State’s scoring slowed down in the second half, which allowed Maryland to push into the offensive zone to create more opportunities toward the net.
In the 63rd minute, Bell served a cross to the penalty spot. Hannah Schapiro precisely got her head on the end of it and powerfully sent the ball over the crossbar and out for a Spartan possession, spoiling a scoring chance.
Caroline Koutsos received the match’s first yellow card from tripping a Spartan after the attacker got rid of the ball.
Then Michigan State broke through again. MJ Andrus received a through ball entering the penalty box between three Maryland defenders. Andrus tapped the ball in after Bell blocked her initial shot. The Spartans led 4-0.
They closed their scoring affair in the 88th minute. Ranya Senhaji tapped the ball into the goal after a Beardsley block off a cross for Michigan State’s fifth score.
The Terps square off against No. 22 Michigan on Sunday. To prevent their offensive woes in conference play from continuing, team’s main focus will be maintaining possession of the ball, Coyle said.
“I think we get really bogged down focusing on defending and not letting any shots up,” Coyle said. “…I think the first step towards having a more aggressive offensive presence is just going to be us keeping the ball.”