After tying with No. 4 Penn State last Thursday, the No. 22 Michigan women’s soccer team entered Sunday looking for a win against Maryland at home. With the Wolverines’ offense finding a rhythm early in the game, Michigan (7-2-3 overall, 3-1-1 Big Ten) never let its foot off of the gas, dominating the Terrapins (3-5-5, 0-4-1) en route to a 4-0 win.
Opening the game, the Wolverines’ energy was evident. Michigan’s offense began to push the pace early, forcing Maryland to spend more possessions in its own half of the field.
“Starting with energy has been one of our focal points this year,” senior forward Sammi Woods said. “… It was something that maybe we’ve lacked in other games and I think we really made an effort, especially on a Sunday where it’s a little warmer out. You know, you got tired legs from a Thursday game.”
That newfound energy soon translated into productive offensive possessions for the Wolverines.
Barely four minutes into the game, sophomore midfielder Jenna Lang fired a shot to the right corner of the net to give Michigan a 1-0 lead early. As the Wolverines continued to apply pressure on the Terrapins’ defense, Woods found herself in a position to extend the lead. In the 17th minute, Maryland committed a foul, giving Michigan a penalty kick. Woods converted on the opportunity, shooting the ball towards the right side of the net to give the Wolverines a 2-0 advantage.
In the first half, the Terrapins’ defense could not stop Michigan’s offense as it tallied 11 total shots and seven shots on goal. Woods and freshman midfielder Lilley Bosley led the offense with three shots each, as the Wolverines closed the first half up 2-0 and with an 11-5 shooting advantage.
Michigan continued to show off its offensive prowess by shooting 15 times with four shots on goal in the second half. The Wolverines’ defense also came out and shined during the game by keeping Maryland’s offense down to eight shots in total.
In the 55th minute, a pass from senior defender Sarah Bridenstine found freshman forward Gabrielle Prych. Prych looped the ball into the left side of the net for another goal scored by the Wolverines.
Just five minutes after Prych’s goal, Woods swerved through Maryland’s defense, tallying another successful shot on goal to give Michigan a commanding 4-0 advantage and push the game out of reach.
With the offense dominating the game, the Wolverines’ defense also came out and controlled play in their defensive third, creating opportunities for the offense on the counter attack.
“Personally, my strategy in terms of the counter attack is to get the ball up the field as fast as you can,” sophomore defender Aniyah League said of Michigan’s defense. “It doesn’t mean that we have to score immediately, but the more we can beat the team offensively, and if you can beat them at their own pace, it makes them stuck.”
This only solidified the Wolverines’ dominance in the game as Michigan won 4-0.
Up next for the Wolverines is Michigan State next Saturday and with the week off, this will be a helpful break for them.
“It’s going to be, I think, first and foremost, how can we just recover,” Michigan coach Jennifer Klein said. “Just take a nice breath, rest, you know, regroup, and then get back to work and what’s nice with so many days is you can focus on some little detail stuff that you might not get to when you are prepping for two games in a week.”
As Michigan continues through its conference schedule, the Wolverines need to maintain their offensive momentum — as they did against Maryland — if they want to continue to find success.