There is one coach and one set of players, but there are two soccer teams playing at Maryland.

One team played dogged defense and used a swarming offense to tie Duke, the top-ranked team in the country, 1-1, Oct. 10.

The other team was outplayed and outshot by lowly Baltimore two days later, and was fortunate to escape with a scoreless tie.

Recently, the first team has reappeared and has won three straight, including a 1-0 overtime victory over North Carolina yesterday at College Park.

"The real Maryland is somewhere in between those two (Duke and Baltimore) games," said Coach Joe Grimaldi, who took over the worst soccer program in the Atlantic Coast Conference at the beginning of last season.

"The real Maryland is the team that is respected and feared in the ACC. We won't be taken for granted anymore."

To say the Terrapins were taken for granted in recent years is an understatement. Originally one of the top teams in the East, Maryland won 16 consecutive ACC titles under Coach Doyle Royal from 1953 to 1968, and continued near the first division until 1974. But Royal's retirement in 1973 and the refusal of his successor, Jim Dietsch, to recruit foreign players left Maryland outclassed by other ACC teams.

"Maryland had become horrible," said Clemson Coach I.M. Ibrahim. "In the last few years, we could almost count on the Maryland game as an automatic win. It was hard to get my players up for Maryland because they always assumed they'd win easily."

The Terrapins have finished last in the ACC every year since 1978, compiling a 23-38-6 record in that span. But since Grimaldi, who served as Dietsch's assistant in 1980, was elevated to head coach, Maryland has undergone a transformation.

The Terrapins won five games in 1981, and already have eight victories this year. They are 8-4-3 overall, 2-2-1 in the ACC. A 1-0 victory over Wake Forest Oct. 17 was the Terrapins' first ACC victory in three years.

"I'd say Maryland is definitely turning around," said Grimaldi, who coached at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda for 15 years. "When I first got here, I put my head in my hands and said, 'What I have I got?' There were no skilled players at all."

Grimaldi has engineered Maryland's turnaround by recruiting heavily within the state. In recent years, most Maryland scholastic stars went out of state to play college soccer, but Grimaldi has worked hard to reverse that trend. Twenty-one players on his roster are from Maryland high schools, and three-fourths are Grimaldi recruits. The roster also includes nine freshmen and four sophomores.

"I want this to be a Maryland team. The farthest I'll go for a player is Northern Virginia," said Grimaldi. "I'm trying to change the image of the soccer program. The people in the state have to trust me and have faith in me.

"I recruit only kids that are coachable. A kid has to want to come to Maryland for me to recruit him," Grimaldi continued. "But players have to be Division I caliber for me to be interested. I know what that level is. I have to know he'll be able to start for me right away."

The heart of Maryland's team is a player Grimaldi scouted while still a high school coach. Goalkeeper Ken Wilkerson, a junior from Sherwood High School who transferred from Montgomery College-Rockville, was a first team all-ACC selection last year and has been spectacular this season.

Wilkerson made 73 saves last fall and set a school record with seven shutouts. This season, Wilkerson has been hampered by injuries but still has five shutouts.

"It's time to show we can play ball," said Wilkerson, whose skilled punting ability keeps the opposition off balance. "People don't expect us to do well, but this team has pulled together. We're out to win now."

The Terrapins have a solid back line anchored by senior Doug Howland and junior Patrick Nelson, and Maryland has outscored its opponents, 25-12. Reza Mohseni leads the team in scoring with six goals and one assist.

Howland, who scored Maryland's goal against North Carolina, has five goals and one assist. Jay Casagranda has four goals and two assists, including one yesterday. Ed Gauss is second in scoring with two goals and seven assists.

"Before the season, other teams looked stronger on paper," said Grimaldi. "But I always knew we had great potential. I just had to teach the players my system. We won't be stomped by anybody anymore."