After the Maryland women's soccer team played two overtime games last weekend, coach Ray Leone claimed the high-pressure situations would help his squad develop. On Thursday against Richmond, the Terps showed their maturity in an overtime triumph.
With 52 seconds remaining in the second extra period, forward Chelsea Jackson scored to beat the Spiders, 1-0, at Ludwig Field.
The Terps mobbed Jackson as she sprinted away from goal with her arms extended, celebrating a victory that helped them eclipse last season's win total.
"That was fun," Jackson said. "With a minute left, you've got to go all out. It's all or nothing."
Maryland (4-0-1) made alterations to its starting lineup against the Spiders (0-3), including relegating leading scorer and reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week, forward Mikayla Dayes, to the bench. Midfielder Niven Hegeman started and saw her first minutes of the season, while freshman midfielder Gi Krstec made her first career start.
Coach Ray Leone has experimented with players in different positions but generally stuck to a 4-3-3 formation. On Thursday, he switched to a 4-4-2, moving Hope Lewandoski, who usually patrols the midfield, to right back.
Leone has been testing his players' versatility by throwing them into different positions. However, the changes did not yield early results.
"People are getting opportunities in maybe positions they are uncomfortable with and we're still learning," Leone said. "They're doing whatever we ask, they're giving it a shot and we're trying to figure out … what's best for us."
Dayes entered for Hegeman in the 15th minute and formed a front attacking trio with forwards Jarena Harmon and Chelsea Jackson. Immediately, the Terps looked more threatening in attack.
In the 19th minute, Jackson was bundled over in the box but a penalty wasn't awarded penalty. With just over four minutes left in the first half, her looping volley grazed the top of the net. But for the fourth time in five games, the Terps failed to score in the opening 45 minutes.
Then, Maryland's leading scorer left with an injury.
Dayes started the second half up top, but in the 60th minute she lunged in for a tackle near midfield. Despite not appearing to make contact with the player or ball, she went to the ground with an apparent leg injury and had to be carted off.
"We wanted to play for her because she has been helping us out in games like that," defender Jlon Flippens said. "When she went down, it was like, taking a step back and realizing that we have to now play even harder."
Maryland continued to dominate possession in overtime but failed to find the elusive winning goal until under a minute remained.
Midfielder Hope Gouterman looped a ball toward the 18-yard box, and after a Richmond defender failed to head the ball away, it fell to Jackson, who lifted the ball over the goalkeeper's head and into the top right corner.
"Our girls pushed through to 52 seconds left and made it a little interesting [and] a little scary," Jackson said with a laugh. "But we fought until the last second."