After remaining undefeated through its first 13 games, Maryland men's soccer enters Tuesday's matchup with VCU on a two-game losing streak. Here are three things to know.
1) Georgetown made the Terps pay for their flaws Tuesday. And they kept paying against Coastal Carolina on Friday.
For nearly the whole season, the Terps struggled to convert their offensive chances. They'd consistently out-possess and out-shoot teams but have to squeak out close wins or pull away in the final minutes.
They outshot the Hoyas, 7-1, in the first half, but those efforts rarely challenged goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. Then, at the end of an even second half, Georgetown struck on a counterattack to end Maryland's 31-game regular-season winning streak.
Afterward, coach Sasho Cirovski said his star players need to play better. But against Coastal Carolina, they didn't necessarily get the chance to.
To help star forward Gordon Wild — who hadn't scored in eight games — find a rhythm, Cirovski brought him off the bench. Midfielder Eryk Williamson, the team's leading scorer amidst Wild's struggles, didn't play in the second half due to exhaustion.
2) Despite the recent losses, Cirovski hasn’t lost faith in his team.
After the 1-0 loss to Georgetown, Cirovski said his team needed a loss to help it refocus and regain an edge.
Last year, Maryland went undefeated through the regular season before a shocking upset loss in its first NCAA tournament game. And the team viewed the loss to the Hoyas as an opportunity it didn't get last season.
"Time will tell. That's what I told my team," Cirovski said after the Georgetown loss. "We'll figure out how good this loss is for us if we make it a good lesson. So we won't know until later on."
After the 1-0 loss to Coastal Carolina on Friday, Cirovski took responsibility for the loss, he said the team's schedule prevented it from playing its best.
After that, the team won its next four games.
3) A loss to the Rams would be historic.
Maryland hasn't had a three-game losing streak since 2004 and hasn't lost three consecutive home games since 2000. A third consecutive loss would be a stunning collapse for a team that appeared on track for back-to-back undefeated seasons before last week.
It could also have a severe effect on the confidence of a squad that defender George Campbell said was "demoralized" after its loss to Coastal Carolina, which entered the game 6-6.