COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Senior Hayley Brock scored the game’s lone goal in the fourth minute and Maryland’s defense made it stand up as the No. 21 women’s soccer team defeated No. 3 Wake Forest, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at Ludwig Field.
The victory, which ups the Terrapins’ record to 6-3-0 overall and 2-1-0 in ACC play, is Maryland’s 22nd victory over a Top 10 opponent all-time and ninth since 2009. The Demon Deacons suffered their first loss of 2013 and now stand at 7-1-1 for the season and are 2-1-1 in conference action.
“This result means everything, because we’ve played a lot of great teams so far and we hadn’t had a result,” said Maryland head coach Jonathan Morgan. “Today was awesome, because we put in a game plan, made another change trying to find an answer, and the kids all bought in and earned a result based off of their effort and commitment. That’s going to be great for us moving forward because now we have some confidence staring at an ACC schedule where you play top 10 team after top 10 team. This result gives us a real belief we can win those games. So, today’s result is everything moving forward.”
Maryland jumped out to an early lead when a seemingly non-threatening throw in turned into a Terrapin goal. Senior Megan Gibbons put the ball into play with the throw from the right sideline to freshman Lauren Berman. She played a brilliant through ball to Brock, who outraced the Wake Forest defenders. With only Demon Deacon keeper Aubrey Bledsoe to beat Brock picked her spot and deftly placed her shot into the lower left corner for the 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
Brock threatened again in the 32nd minute when sophomore Ashley Spivey sent a great pass through the Wake defense. Brock ran past two defenders down the left side, but this time Bledsoe came up with the diving save to keep it a one-goal game.
Maryland got behind the Demon Deacons’ defense a third time in the 40th minute but once again couldn’t add to its lead. Sophomore Riley Barger was the catalyst for this opportunity, playing a ball over the top of the back line for junior Cory Ryan. Ryan got by two defenders and had only Bledsoe to beat, but she tried to go over the Wake keeper and her effort went just high of its mark.
The Terrapins continued to look for their opportunities in the second half while limiting quality chances for the Demon Deacons.
In the 56th minute it was Brock on the giving end of a through-ball, but her attempt to find Barger down the seam was a little too strong and Bledsoe was able to come off of her line to smother the ball before Barger could get there.
Freshman Natasha Ntone-Kouo gave Maryland a spark off the bench and had two chances late.
The first came in the 73rd minute when Berman crossed the ball from the left side into the box, but Ntone-Kouo’s couldn’t quite get on the end of it with a sliding effort.
She had another chance in the 77th minute when Spivey played a ball into the box for Ntone-Kouo. This time she got on the end of it, but her sliding shot sailed just wide of the left post.
Despite a significant advantage in shots (17-6), Wake Forest only managed two real quality chances. The first came in the 54th minute when a Maryland handball gave the Deacs a free kick from 28 yards right dead center of the goal. Wake’s Katie Stengel, who tried to play a chip serve over the top in a similar situation earlier in the match, took the direct kick, but sent the ball over the crossbar.
The second Demon Deacon chance came off of a corner kick in the 75th minute. Stengel sent the corner in from the far left to the back post where the ball got through to a diving Megan Curan, but her header went wide of the net.
Sophomore goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands made six stops for the Terps to pick up her fourth shutout of the season and eighth for her career.
“This team just wants to win, so whatever it takes, whatever system that is, the players will be committed to it,” said Morgan. “Because of how we played today they can be more confident in our attacking mentality. Our shape is about how we defend against teams. We’re still looking for the mentality to go forward and be dangerous and someone to compliment Hayley right now and hopefully this will lead to that.”
Maryland returns to action with another Top 5 opponent when it travels to South Bend, Ind., to take on No. 5 Notre Dame at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26.