COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sophomore Riley Barger scored her first career goal to help propel the No. 15 University of Maryland women’s soccer team to a decisive 3-0 win over George Mason Friday night at Ludwig Field.
The Terps (3-0-0) got on the board in just the second minute of play when sophomore Shannon Collins sent the ball down the left side where senior Hayley Brock ran it down. Mason keeper Lyndse Hokanson came way out from the net to try to prevent Brock from getting to the ball, but Brock beat her to it and cross the ball into the Patriots’ box where Barger then finished into an open net for what proved to be the game-winner.
Maryland built its lead to 2-0 in the seventh minute on the fifth goal of the season by Brock. Freshman Lauren Berman stole the ball from a Patriot defender on the Mason side of midfield and slotted a pass to Brock, who broke free from a pair of defenders and easily slipped the ball past Hokanson.
The Terps had another brilliant opportunity in the 39th minute when junior Cory Ryan got through the Patriots’ backline, but Hokanson came off of her line and smothered Ryan’s shot as it left her foot.
The second half saw the Terrapins continue to press the advantage and created some quality opportunities.
In the 50th minute Brock crossed the ball from the left side of the 18 toward the top of the box where sophomore Maisie McCune got on the end of it with a sliding effort, but her shot was sent wide of the net by a diving save by Briana Kottler, who replaced Hokanson at the start of the second half.
The goal posts, left and right, became the nemesis of the Terps on the next two chances.
Once again it was Brock creating an opportunity with a good cross into the box for sophomore Ashley Spivey who got off a solid strike, but it went off the left post and deflected away from danger in the 53rd minute.
The right post got in on the act in the 57th minute when senior Megan Gibbons played a ball into the box and Berman rose up and got on the end of it with a quality header across Kottler, but that effort deflected off of the right post to keep the game a 2-0 margin for the Terps.
That’s the way it would stay until the 80th minute when a George Mason foul gave Maryland a free kick from 30 yards out on the left side of the field. Collins sent the ball toward the far post where Ryan redirected it back to the center of the six-yard box. Berman was then able to get a toe on the ball and flicked it under the crossbar to make it a 3-0 game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands needed to make just two saves for the Terps in picking up her third win of the season and her fifth career shutout.
“We spoke before the game about coming out early and having a lot of energy and trying to score some goals in the first 20 minutes and our players did an awesome job scoring two goals in the first seven minutes,” said Maryland head coach Jonathan Morgan. “We were playing really well, and I’m not sure if it was George Mason trying to slow things down or just us losing our edge, but later on in the first half we didn’t perform as well as we did in the first 15 to 20 minutes of the match.
“Nonetheless we still got some great performances out of people. I thought Hayley Brock worked hard, brought good energy; she scored and created opportunities for others tonight, she was fantastic. Shade Pratt had a good game along the back line. Sarah Fichtner, who hasn’t played much and when she has played she’s played out wide, we put her at holding mid and she did well tonight. So, there were certainly positives to take from this. Some of the soccer at times was good, but it was so far from inconsistent that we still need to work hard to create that consistency. That said, a 3-nil shutout is a pretty good performance to take into Sunday when we play a disciplined Navy team.”
Maryland returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 1 when it hosts Navy at 7 p.m. at Ludwig Field.