Liv Curry carried the ball to the top of Maryland’s box after Madison Krakower failed to catch her in a foot race.
The Wisconsin defender slotted a pass to Aryssa Mahrt, who pivoted around her defender to launch a cross. Emma Jaskaniec stood open at the back post and slotted a left-footed shot into the net.
Jaskaniec, the reigning Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, torched the Terps Thursday night with a first-half hat trick. Wisconsin pummelled Maryland, 3-0, at Ludwig Field.
Thursday’s loss marked the Terps’ seventh straight loss and kept them winless in conference play. Maryland (3-9-5, 0-8-1 Big Ten) has not scored a goal since Sept. 10. Coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer’s team has just nine goals on the season, by far the worst mark in the Big Ten.
“I think that we are working hard and we’re competing. I would like to see the ball go in the back of the net. They deserve that,” Nemzer said. “… It’s just been unfortunate that we can’t do it.”
Wisconsin landed seven shots on goal, compared to just two for Maryland. Jaskaniec exceeded that total by herself with four.
The Badgers continued to exploit gaps in the Terps’ defense. Well-timed through balls and a fast-paced Wisconsin (12-3-3, 7-2-1 Big Ten) attack often left an outmatched Maryland backline scattered in its defensive third.
The Terps also struggled to maintain possession in their midfield, repeatedly losing the ball high in the Badgers’ half. That let Wisconsin take possession and barrel its way toward Maryland’s net.
Those shortcomings helped Jaskaniec to her second goal. In the 20th minute, Maddie Ishaug flicked a pass behind the Terps’ defensive line, where Jaskaniec was wide open. She fired a right-footed rocket over Maryland keeper Liz Beardsley and into the net.
Nemzer’s squad nearly escaped the first half down only two goals. But Wisconsin defender Gabby Green launched a pass perfectly into Jaskaniec’s run. Two Maryland defenders failed to reach Jaskaniec before her shot found the bottom left corner of the net in the 42nd minute.
Nemzer said her team spoke about keeping Jaskaniec from having free runs into the Maryland box. The Wisconsin star has “deadly” speed, Nemzer added.
“Unfortunately, she had three free locks and she’s probably one of the best in the Big Ten,” the coach said. “… You give her a shot, it’s usually 10 out of 10 times on frame.”
Maryland had a few moments of offensive connection, despite losing the possession battle. Kennedy Bell charged forward in the 76th minute, looking to slot a ball in behind the Badgers’ defense. A misplaced Wisconsin clearance put the ball perfectly at Krakower’s feet.
She launched a shot from distance on the right side of the field, but she skied her effort over the net. Just two of the Terps’ shots forced Wisconsin goalkeeper Erin McKinney to make a save; both came in the first half.
Maryland also lost midfielder Lauren Wrigley to injury in the 56th minute. She was helped off the field and did not return.
“People stepped up and competed in the second half and I am happy with that piece of it,” Nemzer said.
The coach said the Terps cleaned up their performance after halftime. Their ability to switch the point of attack improved, she said, against a high-pressing Badgers squad.
Maryland also lost midfielder to injury Lauren Wrigley in the 56th minute. She was helped off the field and did not return.
Each time a well-organized Badgers offense stormed forward, Maryland’s defense crumbled. Mahrt took on two Terps defenders in the first half and launched a cross into the box.
Lisa McIntyre blocked the cross, but her rushed clearance ricocheted off Kennedy Bell, returning possession to Wisconsin. The Terps’ defense struggled to get organized but an offside call on the Badgers ended the threat.
Maryland closes its season against No. 19 Indiana on Sunday, its first matchup this year with the Hoosiers.
Ahead of Sunday’s senior game matchup, Nemzer emphasized the importance of her team celebrating their growth throughout the season.
“We talk about the process, not about the destination,” she said. “For me at the end of the season, it’s not the destination. I want to talk about stepping stones.”