Kimani Stewart-Baynes placed the ball down on the penalty spot.
Rutgers handled the ball inside the box, giving Maryland men’s soccer a golden opportunity to tie the game at two from 12 yards.
Stewart-Baynes shot to his right, aiming to nestle the ball in the bottom corner of the net. But the forward missed the goal completely, bringing the Terps’ record from the penalty spot this season to 0-for-4.
Maryland failed to convert late scoring chances, dropping its fourth straight conference match in a 2-1 loss to Rutgers at Ludwig Field on Tuesday. The defeat keeps the Terps rooted to the bottom of the Big Ten table in ninth place with just one point from five games.
“It’s frustrating to see the same thing happen to us on a consistent basis,” coach Sasho Cirovski said.
Maryland (1-6-2, 0-4-1 Big Ten) started the game living in Rutgers’ defensive half. The Terps earned a corner kick and a free kick in dangerous areas of the pitch, but were unable to produce an early scoring chance on either set piece.
As the Terps pushed forward in attack, the Scarlet Knights (3-5-2, 1-2-1 Big Ten) caught them out on a counter attack.
Curt Calov possessed the ball at the midway line as Luciano Sanchez and Ola Maeland sprinted toward the Maryland goal. Calov sent a defense-splitting pass to Maeland, who raced toward Jamie Lowell.
Maeland’s shot struck the post, but the Rutgers forward benefited from a fortuitous bounce. The ball ricocheted back to Maeland, who tapped home the game’s opening goal six minutes into the match.
The early strike put Maryland in a familiar situation: chasing an equalizing goal. But instead of tying the game, the Terps conceded again.
Matthew Acosta forced a stop out of Lowell after placing a long-range effort on frame. The Maryland goalie dove to his right and made a save, but failed to contain the shot. Ian Abbey ran into the box and tapped in the rebound to double Rutgers’ advantage.
The Terps looked for an answer after their deficit doubled. It came from Max Riley.
Riley and Colin Griffith entered the game as substitutes halfway through the first half. Two minutes later, both contributed to Maryland’s first goal in three games.
Griffith controlled the ball at the top of the Rutgers box with his back to goal and layed a pass off to Riley. The forward took a one-time shot from outside the box that curled past Rutgers goalie Ciaran Dalton and into the bottom left corner of the net.
“My job is to put the ball in the back of the net,” Riley said. “I haven’t done that the past couple of games … it just happened today.”
Riley’s strike gave Maryland its first goal since Sept. 14 and, more importantly, a way back into the game.
In the final minutes of the first half, Leon Koehl almost got Maryland level on the scoreboard.
The midfielder glided into the box, evading multiple Rutgers’ defenders. He placed a shot on goal but Dalton made his sixth save of the first half, palming the strike away.
Maryland chased a game-tying goal in the second half. After Stewart-Baynes’ penalty miss, the Terps generated multiple scoring chances.
Riley again was the catalyst. He found open space in the center of the box and got a shot on goal in the 67th minute, only to be denied by the hands of Dalton.
He almost secured his brace again just more than a minute later. Riley flicked a header towards goal, sending the ball arching in the air. But the effort hit the post.
Then it was Copetti. Unmarked at the back post, the forward redirected a cross coming across the goal mouth towards goal. Just before the ball crossed the line, Dalton dove to get his hands on the shot and make another big save.
“We’ve just got to put it away,” Riley said. “We’ve gotten so close the past couple of games … there’s not really much else we can do.”
The Terps outshot the Scarlet Knights 20-7 on the night, but Dalton ended the game with 10 saves in another match where Maryland paid the price for failing to take advantage of its scoring opportunities.
“We keep having goalkeepers come in here and have the game of their lives,” Cirovski said. “You have to give the young man credit, he made three tremendous saves for them.”