Women’s Soccer Writer
Maryland kicks off their run for a NCAA Title against the High Point Panthers at Ludwig Field Friday Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.. The University of Maryland will host the two opening rounds for their pod of teams.
The Panthers (11-10-1, 6-2-1 Big South) are coming off their second straight Big South Championship, with a 1-0 overtime win over Gardner-Webb, and are currently riding a five-game winning streak. They are led in scoring by freshmen Kelli Joline, with 10 goals, but after her there is a severe drop; the closest to her is Katie Taber with five. High Point is not an excellent offensive team, with a 1.41 goal per game average and less than 13 shots per game.
Their defense has been just as unimpressive as their offense; they allow more shots then they average and have only outscored opponents 31 to 30. Keeper Andrea Ritchie owns seven shutouts on the year, however, and has a .741 save percentage.
Maryland (17-2-2, 7-2-1 ACC) dominates the Panthers in seemingly every category, nearly doubling their goals per game (2.29) and possesing a much more superior defense (0.86). The Terps should be able to take advantage with their three-headed attack of Jasmyne Spencer, Ashley Grove and Sade Ayinde and with their talented keeper in Yewande Balogun.
High Point has beaten one ACC team this year, the lowly Clemson Tigers. However, in last year’s NCAA tournament, the Panthers were able to hang with UNC before falling 1-0 in the opening round.
Maryland’s Record: (17-2-2, 7-2-1 ACC)
Opponent’s Record: (11-10-1, 6-2-1 Big South)
Time: 5 pm ET
Location: College Park, MD
Prediction: The Terps will be way too much for the Panthers as they cruise their way into the second round. With the home crowd advantage the Terps win 4-0 with goals from Sade Ayinde, Caitlin McDowell, Jasmyne Spencer and Danielle Hubka.