Appalachian State University women’s soccer battled back from an early 1-0 deficit, scoring two goals in the final 34 minutes to defeat Maryland on Sunday afternoon. The win gives the Mountaineers their first victory against a “Power Five” school in program history.
“The team played their heart out today and battled for every ball,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “To come back from behind and regain composure, I thought we were playing really well in the first half, but then we gave up the goal and at halftime we said, ‘We can do this. We’ve had opportunities. If we stay committed to what we do, we’re going to do great things.’ And then we did come out and regain our composure.”
Strickland continued, “I thought we had some great performances by so many people. Our midfield battled, our back line stayed together, it wasn’t like it was on one person to carry the group today, so I thought that was pretty awesome. The sidelines were incredible today, too. Even if they didn’t make it out onto the field, everyone was so invested in the team and in the program that it showed that they believed that we were going to find a way to get the result.”
The Mountaineers’ (4-2) first-time hosting a member of the Big Ten conference started off with App State getting great looks at the goal, outshooting the Terrapins (2-3-1) 11-5 in the opening half. However, Maryland was able to find a gap in the 23rd minute when Chelsea Jackson made a move at the top of the key, finding room to fire a rocket to the bottom-left corner of the goal to go into the half up 1-0.
Appalachian continued the aggressive play in the second before finally breaking the seal on the goal in the 57th minute when Sarah Murphy sent a cross near the goal from right to left for Erin Settle to blast the equalizer home – her third goal of the season. The assist was Murphy’s first in her career.
The Black and Gold let the momentum carry them to more attacks, finally ending in the game-winner in the 83rd minute when Jenn Bass shot a laser at Maryland’s goalkeeper that rebounded off where Jane Cline was able to put it through from two yards out.
Her fourth goal of the season, Cline now moves into the program’s all-time top 5 in career goals, tying Dana Murphy (2003-2006) at 20.
Goalkeeper Sam Steyl received the win, improving to 3-2 on the season. She made two saves off of 11 shots faced, with just the one goal allowed. The Mountaineers also had a team save when Aubrey Fletcher headed a shot out of the goal.
Maryland split its goalkeeper duties between Katelyn Jenson and Rachel Egyed. Jenson made five saves in the first half before Egyed came in for the second half, making three saves.
Appalachian has become familiar with falling behind 1-0, coming back from the deficit three times now (Northern Kentucky, Radford and Maryland) by getting recharged and refocused at halftime. Part of the success came on outshooting opponents.
The Mountaineers set a season-high in shots on Sunday, shooting 19 total to Maryland’s 11.
Leading App State in the effort was Cline (five), Settle (four) and Emmily Cowie (three). The three of them also led the team in shots on goal with three apiece.
Lindsey Tully, Morgan Mosack and Kelly Flanders had two shots while Bass finished with one on the day.
The Mountaineers will now go on the road to face Gardner-Webb on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. before hosting another “Power Five” conference team in No. 15 Texas Tech. Kickoff for the home match is set for 1 p.m.