Stefan Copetti sent a shot on goal. Indiana goalie JT Harms’ outstretched hand saved the strike, but parried the ball back into the middle of the box. It fell to Max Riley.
But Riley couldn’t adjust to get full contact on the ball, sending a measly effort right back at the Hoosier goalie. Harms caught the ball and layed on it to prevent another Maryland chance.
Riley’s missed chance was the Terps’ best opportunity to find an equalizer in the final moments of the match. Maryland fell to Indiana, 2-1, and remains winless in Big Ten play with just one more conference match remaining.
“Once again, the same old story for us … we didn’t have the aptitude to make the plays that mattered,” coach Sasho Cirovski said.
A tie would have earned Maryland one point in the conference standings, which would have put it within one point of eight place Ohio State. The Terps and Buckeyes play on the final day of the regular season, a match that could decide who gets the coveted final spot in the Big Ten tournament.
Maryland didn’t post a shot in the opening 21 minutes. Leon Koehl changed that.
The midfielder, playing in a more attacking role than his usual defensive midfielder position alongside Alex Nitzl, received possession and raced towards goal. There was an opportunity for him to lay a pass off to a forward, but Koehl shot from distance.
Koehl’s effort forced Indiana goalie JT Harms to dive toward the upper left corner, but the shot rose too high over the crossbar and out of play.
Although his attempt was off-target, the passage of play established the notion that Koehl will venture forward into the attacking third.
Koehl produced one of only two Maryland shots in the first half. Max Riley placed the only one on frame. Jack Wagoman put Indiana’s only shot of the half on target, with Mikah Seger answering the shot with a save.
“In the first half, we did not come out with the kind of menace, tenacity and energy required to set the tone … in a game of this importance,” Cirovski said.
Less than a minute into the second half, it was once again Koehl creating a chance in an advanced position.
Maryland worked the ball down the right flank as Kento Abe sent a cross into the box. Indiana’s defense dealt with the initial ball, but cleared it only as far as Koehl. He faked a shot to create space at the top of the box and sent a low, curling effort just wide of the post.
While the Terps didn’t take advantage of their opening attack of the first half, the Hoosiers did.
Patrick McDonald lofted a long throw into the Maryland box. With three Terps defenders around him, Jansen Miller rose highest among them to flick the ball across goal, where Alex Barger was positioned.
Barger knocked the ball with his head past a helpless Seger in goal, providing the breakthrough for the Hoosiers in the 54th minute.
“We didn’t win the first ball … You don’t always win the first ball, but you gotta win the second ball,” Cirovski said. “The young man just attacked the ball almost untouched, unpressured, and you can’t do that.”
Indiana attempted another long throw. It also resulted in a goal, but on the other end.
Maryland’s clearance on the ball into the box kick-started the breakaway via van Heukelum. The forward pressed throughout the midfield into the attacking third, slowing the play to wait for available options.
He found Brian St. Martin with a backheel pass. St. Martin crossed the ball into the box, taking a deflection on the way. The deflection directed the ball into the path of Stefan Copetti, who tapped in his fifth goal of the season in the 69th minute to tie the game.
“I saw kind of the play progressing, and in my mind I said ‘I’m going to score this goal,’” Copetti said. “Brian played a good ball into me … and slotted it in.”
But Indiana responded.
On a half volley, Henderlong sent a cross-field pass to Samuel Sarver. Sarver controlled the ball as it came down onto his foot, and dribbled into the box.
He took a touch to create space away from Mack Devries, and placed a shot past Seger to restore Indiana’s lead.
Sarver’s strike was the difference, as Maryland lost for the fifth time in the Big Ten.
“We just didn’t make the plays in either box that needed to be made today,” Cirovski said.