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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Despite Sampson’s eight saves, Blue Hens men’s soccer lose 1-0 to No. 12 Maryland in overtime

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Courtesy of Patrick LaPorte
Behind goalkeeper Scott Sampson’s eight saves, Delaware forced overtime versus Maryland. The Terrapins grabbed the win, though, just eight minutes into extra time.

Managing Sports Editor

Delaware’s men’s soccer team put together one of their best defensive performances against the No. 12 nationally ranked Maryland Terrapins. However, a goal in the 98th minute by sophomore midfielder Ben Bender broke a scoreless tie and gave Maryland (9-2-1) the road victory.

In front of a home crowd at Stuart and Suzanne Grant Stadium, the Blue Hens (1-9-1) played two halves of shutout defense against one of the top teams in the Big Ten. Junior goalkeeper Scott Sampson tallied eight saves, denying every single Maryland shot-on-goal during the opening 90 minutes.

Maryland had six shots in the opening half, but only two were on goal. Both resulted in Sampson saves in the 29th and 42nd minutes. Meanwhile, the Blue Hens only mustered one shot in the first 45 minutes, a wide shot by sophomore forward Carlos Fernandez.

Just six minutes into the second half, Sampson made his third save of the night on a shot by freshman forward Caden Stafford. Delaware’s goalkeeper added three more saves prior to the 70th minute to keep the Blue Hens and Terrapins knotted up with no score.

In the 76th minute, Bender had a chance to put Maryland on top, but hit the post on one of Sampson’s only mistakes during the contest. One minute later, Sampson recovered to notch a crucial seventh save on the third shot attempt by Terrapin forward Jacen Russell-Rowe.

With around seven minutes remaining in regulation, Sampson made a game-saving stop, using his legs to prevent Russell-Rowe’s fourth shot of the match from going in the net.

Opportunities for the Delaware offensive attack were scarce, with only three shots and two corner kicks in the second half. Sophomore forward Justin Ruth had the last chance in regulation, but his shot went wide in the 88th minute.

Following 90 scoreless minutes of action, the game went to extra time. The first shot attempt by either team was taken by Bender, and it became the first goal of the game to give Maryland their ninth win of the season and Delaware their ninth loss in 11 games. 

Bender’s kick shot past Sampson in the top left corner of the net, with assists from senior Justin Gielen and freshman Joshua Bolma. Gielen crossed the ball over to the left side of the pitch to Bolma, who chested it back to Bender right outside the penalty box.

After 17 shots, nine shots-on-goal and seven corner kicks, the Terrapins finally converted to seal the victory. Delaware only totaled four shots (none of which were on the goal) and three corner kicks. 

Head coach Ian Hennessy’s offense has struggled to score all season, putting up only 11 goals in as many games. However, Sampson’s performance and a career-high eight saves highlights a positive for the Blue Hens.

Despite no playing time at the college level in his first two seasons at the university, Sampson has played in seven games this year. He has 38 saves and a save percentage just under the 70 percent mark. 

In addition to Sampson’s career day, Hennessy was pleased with his team’s performance against one of the top teams in the nation.

“Our effort was outstanding,” Hennessy said after Tuesday’s game. “To put in a performance like that against a high caliber team after the bad luck we’ve had this season, I couldn’t be prouder.”

The next match for Hennessy’s squad comes at home versus Charleston this upcoming Saturday. Then, the season will be closed out with home matches against William & Mary and Old Dominion and the season finale on the road at Drexel.

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