Posted: 11:48 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, 2013
By Todd Carton
The competition in Monday night's women soccer match up between the seventeenth ranked Maryland Terrapins and the Villanova Wildcats was a step up from Friday's game against The Citadel and so was the intensity. After falling behind early, the Terps rallied from a 0-2 deficit to win their second game of the season taking down the Wildcats by a final of 4-2 fueled by a second consecutive game featuring a hat trick off the boot of a Terrapin player.
Villanova's plan of attack became apparent early with a long lofted pass that got behind the defense but a fine recovery by sophomore defender Erika Nelson stifled the Wildcats opportunity. The Terps quickly countered and freshman Lauren Berman, who scored a goal and had two assists in her debut, launched a shot that was deflected wide by Villanova goalie Jami Kranich who also grabbed Berman's header on the ensuing corner kick.
Maryland continued to control the game looking quicker and more physical and Ashley Spivey had a great chance in the eighteenth minute but could make solid enough contact and Kranich again came up with the save. A foul on Maryland gave Villanova a free kick and a lofted ball over the top caught the Terrapin defense by surprise and forced Maryland goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands off her line. Wildcats forward Reanna Marino was able to take advantage and drive a low shot past Beanlands to give Villanova a 1-0 lead in the nineteenth minute. Lightning struck again as what Coach Jonathan Morgan called "a little communication issue with Megan Gibbons and Rachelle" resulted in a second Wildcat goal.
From the start, the game was quite physical and things got a little chippier as the Terps pressed to cut into the Cats' lead. Things got a bit scary for Maryland fans when sophomore midfielder Aubrey Baker went down in the 27th minute with an apparent ankle injury and had to be taken off the field on a cart. X-rays proved negative.
In the thirty-fourth minute, Morgan substituted Cory Ryan for Spivey and the move paid a quick dividend. Just five minutes after entering the game, Ryan took a pass from Shannon Collins, broke through the Villanova defense and drove a shot from a tough angle off the goalie's leg for the Terrapins' first score of the night. After the game Morgan said, "You're down by two goals and you're controlling the run of play and you begin to doubt yourselves a little. You could see the energy change for our team. It was a huge goal." Maryland had a chance to tie the score with just under a minute to play but Riley Barger's shot off an excellent cross from Gibbons flew just wide. For the half, Maryland outshot Villanova 10-2 and had two corner kicks to none for the Cats. Still, they trailed by one.
The Terps continued to be the aggressor at the start of the second half and a flagrant takedown from behind in the fifty second minute of Haley Brock by Villanova's Kathryn Rayner resulted in a red card leaving the Cats down a player. But as Morgan said, the Terps, rather than playing balls to stretch the defense continued playing balls in front of their back line and early on were unable to capitalize on the player advantage. Unable, that is until senior forward Haley Brock took over the game.
Initially she had a little help from her teammates as an exceptionally creative flip pass from Spivey pulled the ‘Nova keeper off her line and Brock was able to run under it and finish into the open net. Less than two minutes later after the Terp defense stifled a Villanova counter, Brock took control in the Maryland defensive third and took the ball down the right side outpacing the Wildcats defense and finished one on one against Kranich with a drive into the left corner. With six minutes to play, the Terps had their first lead of the night. But Brock, who was quick to credit her teammates, saying, "We were all just pushing it forward and I just happened to be the one who was up there," wasn't quite done. In the 87th minute Brock took a long pass from goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands and again outran the Wildcats defense finishing another one on one from the right side to complete a pure hat trick in a span of just over four minutes and seal Maryland's 4-2 win.