COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A spirited comeback from the Navy women’s soccer team resulted in a thrilling 3-3 draw against the University of Maryland on Thursday night at Ludwig Field, with both sides showcasing exceptional talent and determination.

After trailing 2-0 in the game’s early moments, Navy (1-0-2) fought back to pull even in the second half and briefly led the Terps (0-1-2) before the hosts scored the equalizing goal in the 78th minute.

In a swift turnaround after halftime, Navy’s Marlee Heaven (So., Rockville, Md.) and Alexa Riddle (Jr., Tomball, Texas) energized their team with two consecutive goals in the 49th and 52nd minutes, respectively. Heaven’s quick double leveled the score, and Isabella Romano (So., Syosset, N.Y.) scored what seemed to be the winning goal in the 75th minute, only for Maryland to tie it again just minutes later.

Head coach Carin Gabarra reflected on the game’s dynamics, saying, “Maryland came out fast, strong, and confident, and we sat back a little bit and paid for it. After halftime, we regrouped, and our mentality changed; we started to keep the ball for longer stretches, attack at speed, and get numbers forward; that changed the game.” She further noted, “We’re never satisfied with a tie. We had some chances that we didn’t put away, so we’ll learn from this experience and ensure better ball movement and mentality from the start of the game.”

The match began with Maryland taking control, quickly going up 2-0 with goals at 9:05 and 14:07. Navy’s defense, led by Mattie Gallagher (Sr., Gilbertsville, Pa.), who turned aside Maryland’s first two shots, couldn’t stop the next two attempts by the Terps.

Undeterred, Navy began making offensive strides, with a near goal in the 42nd minute and intense pressure that eventually led to their second-half comeback. Riddle’s powerful play on the wing set up both of Heaven’s header goals, while good ball control and precise build-up led to Romano’s shot finding the back of the net at 74:32.

Commenting on the second-half performance, Gabarra stated, “We got two phenomenal goals to start the second half. Alexa committed to going forward more aggressively with the ball, and she beat her man multiple times, which changed the game for us. Marlee was extremely courageous… she placed her shots exceptionally well, and they went exactly where she wanted.”

However, Maryland quickly responded, recording the equalizer less than minutes later at 77:21.

In the 3-3 draw, Maryland outshot Navy, 17-6, with an 11-4 advantage in shots on goal. Both teams finished with four corner kicks.

This result extends Navy’s undefeated streak against Maryland to four (1-0-3), dating back to 2018.

Next on the schedule for Navy is a home matchup against the Ohio University Bobcats on Sunday afternoon, with kickoff at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Navy-Maryland game showcased the intense rivalry between the two cross-state teams, and fans from both sides were treated to a thrilling, action-packed encounter that will be remembered for its dramatic twists and turns.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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