Posted: 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013
By Todd Carton
The twenty-first ranked Maryland women's soccer team had a rough start to a tough weekend dropping a 2-0 decision to the twenty third ranked Virginia Tech Hokies at Ludwig field Thursday night. The Terps came out of the gate quickly clearing space for an Ashley Spivey shot from just outside the box just over two minutes in. However, Tech goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts had a good look at Spivey's shot toward the near corner and easily made the save. The Hokies countered quickly and in some chaos in front of the Maryland goal drove a shot just wide.
Maryland's subsequent possession was a long one during which Virginia Tech's defensive strategy became apparent. They forced the bali wide and would run two or three defenders at the ball using the sideline as an extra defender and forcing the Terps in a series of lateral and backwards passes. VT earned the first corner of the game after a shot on a three on two attack in the ninth minute on which Maryland goaltender Rachelle Beanlands picked up the first of her eight saves on the night. The header off the corner sailed high.
Another piece of Tech's game plan seemed to play the Terps very physically as they picked up three fouls over the next four minutes of play. Maryland had a good opportunity on the last of these but Lauren Berman's header on the pass launched from just inside the Terrapins attacking zone went a bit wide. Maryland picked up their first foul of the match in the eighteenth minute and in a dangerous spot about two yards outside the right corner of the box. However, Beanlands again came up with the save. The Terps had an outstanding chance in the twenty seventh minute. A minute or so earlier, Hayley Brock had taken a shot similar to Spivey's at the beginning of the half but again Colpitts made a relatively easy save. The Terps contained the clear and after Corey Ryan had her shot blocked, Brock's follow up went just wide. VT finally broke through on a header off a corner kick in the thirty seventh minute.
Trailing 1-0 coming out of the locker room, Maryland looked to have found their footing metaphorically speaking (several slips would cost the Terps some possible opportunities later in the half) and found ways to attack the solid Hokies defense getting a golden opportunity to knot the score in the forty-ninth minute when a VT handball in the box gave Maryland a penalty kick. Hokies goalie Colpitts guessed correctly and deflected Ashley Spivey's low drive to the left post. The Terps were unable to capitalize on the ensuing corner. As the time grew short and Maryland pushed for the equalizer, space opened up for a Virginia Tech counter attack and they scored their insurance goal in the eighty-eighth minute on a one on one opportunity.
Once again in his post game comments, Maryland coach Jonathan Morgan addressed issues with leadership stating that Tech played with more energy and that the Terps need to find a way to, "get ourselves out of trouble when it's hard." One factor could be the absence of sophomore center back Erika Nelson necessitating moving Shannon Collins to the center. Morgan credits Nelson with being a very vocal presence and continuity on the back line. Nelson may return for Sunday's game against third ranked Wake Forest but the Terps have lost sophomore forward Gabby Galanti for the season to a torn ACL. Galanti's loss makes it more vital that players such as Spivey and attacking midfielder Riley Barger increase their production. "These are players that carried some weight for us last year and we need them to carry the weight this year. Maybe a bit more so."
As Morgan also said after the game, "Virginia Tech beat us in pretty much every category in the game." And the statistics bear him out. Virginia Tech out shot Maryland 17 - 8 and had seven corners to the Terps' two. The Terps will have to put this loss behind quickly as the third ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons come to Ludwig for a one pm game Sunday.