Women’s Soccer Season Preview – Part 2


Editor’s Note: Zack Ward continues his two-part season preview of the women’s soccer team.

(Image from vincesalamonephotograpahy)

Key Returners:

Jasmyne Spencer – The 5-foot-1-inch forward is perhaps the single biggest reason Maryland women’s soccer has been making history the past couple of years, and her being back for her senior year is one of the biggest reasons the Terps can realistically hope to have just as good a season as last year. She is known mostly for her game-changing speed and was incredibly consistent with almost identical stats in 2009 and 2010.

Sade Ayinde – Jasmyne Spencer is the star that always gets talked about, but don’t forget about Sade Ayinde, who was arguably Maryland’s best player last year seeing as she led the team in points with 10 goals and 8 assists. She started 17 games as a freshman, but has had her greatest success coming off the bench as a sophomore and junior. The knocks on Spencer have always been that she is too fast for her own good, sometimes causing her to lose control of the ball near the net, or that she is too short to make certain plays. At 5-foot-9, Ayinde can win a lot of headers, and she has great ball control.

Ashley Grove – The Rochester, N.Y. native was discovered while Brian Pensky was at a game scouting one of her opponents. The surprise recruit has now turned into one of Maryland’s top shooters with 18 career goals, six of which have been game-winning.

More after the jump.

Key Losses:

The Terps took a big hit to their back line with the departure of Caitlin McDowell and Colleen Deegan. They also lost a solid offensive contributor in Molly Dreska who had eight career goals. All three of these players started all 23 games for Maryland in 2010.

The Schedule:

Maryland finished last season ranked 8th in the NCAA Women’s Soccer RPI (out of 322 D1 women’s soccer programs) and 10th in the NSCAA Coaches Poll. Here’s how their 2011 opponents fared in 2010:

2010 Record                  RPI/ NSCAA

08/10/11vs. WEST VIRGINIA + (Big East)18-5-112/ 13
08/13/11vs. GEORGETOWN + (Big East)15-7-214/ 18
08/19/11vs. MINNESOTA (Big Ten)14-6-330/ 21
08/22/11at Loyola (Md) (Metro Atlantic)9-9-2190/ —
08/26/11vs. STANFORD (Pac-10)23-1-21/ 2
08/28/11vs. NAVY (Patriot)9-8-3206/ —
09/02/11vs. ST. LOUIS (Atlantic 10)4-9-6230/ —
09/04/11at Cornell (Ivy)6-8-1224/ —
09/07/11vs. AMERICAN (American)6-10-3216/ —
09/11/11at James Madison (Colonial)15-7-145/ —
09/15/11at Virginia *15-5-29/ 9
09/18/11vs. VIRGINIA TECH *10-10-144/ —
09/22/11vs. BOSTON COLLEGE *17-7-15/ 3
09/25/11vs. NC STATE *7-12-0101/ —
09/29/11at Clemson *6-13-0170/ —
10/08/11vs. WAKE FOREST *13-8-317/ 25
10/13/11at Florida State *16-6-111/ 7
10/16/11at Miami *10-8-150/ —
10/23/11at Duke *11-8-424/ 20
10/27/11vs. NORTH CAROLINA *19-3-23/ 6
10/30/11ACC QuarterfinalsTBATBA
11/04/11ACC SemifinalsTBATBA
11/06/11ACC FinalsTBATBA
11/13/11NCAA First RoundCampus SitesTBA
11/20/11NCAA Second RoundCampus SitesTBA
11/25/11NCAA Sweet 16Campus SitesTBA
11/27/11NCAA QuarterfinalsCampus SitesTBA
12/02/11NCAA SemifinalsKennesaw, Ga.TBA
12/04/11NCAA ChampionshipKennesaw, Ga.TBA

(Information from umterps.com and ncaa.com)

The first must-see game of the season will be Aug. 26, when the Terps host national runners-up Stanford. After that comes the softest part of Maryland’s schedule with what will likely be four easy wins against Navy, St. Louis, Cornell and American. Then, the James Madison game will provide a bit of a challenge to help the Terps transition into ACC play, which begins with a date with Virginia in Charlottesville on Sept. 15.

Towards the end of the ACC slate the Terps will have a tough road trip down to Florida, followed by a game at Duke. The last three times Maryland Women’s Soccer has attempted to play at FSU and at Miami in back to back games (2005, 2007 and 2009) they have gone a combined 0-6.

The Terps will close out the regular season with what will be a highly anticipated match-up against North Carolina on Oct. 27 at Ludwig. This will be the first meeting between the two since Maryland’s historic first-ever win over the Tarheels on Oct. 24, 2010 in Chapel Hill.