It was a bittersweet weekend for women’s soccer at the Nike/Odwalla Classic hosted by USF. The Lady Dons tallied one loss and one victory against quality East Coast opponents. The first game on Friday, Sept. 4 saw USF suffer 0-2 against the dynamism and individual technical skill of the Long Island University Blackbirds. Despite featuring their offensive ability (outshooting LIU 10-4), USF’s aggressiveness did not triumph in the end, as chances in the attacking third were met by a tough, physical defensive scheme. The Blackbirds capitalized on their fewer chances, with Kayleigh Morgan scoring a brace, one goal per half. Morgan found the net following a corner kick in the 30th minute, then doubled her tally in the 60th minute, a result of excellent counterattacking team play from LIU.
The Lady Dons returned to Negoesco Field on Sunday, Sept. 6, facing off against Fairfield University in their final game of the tournament. Team play improved as communication between players increased. Passes were sharper and this time around, it was the USF midfield that played smart possession while the Don backline rediscovered its defensive discipline that contributed to the shutout wins in the first two games of the season. Freshman Laura Gordon showcased her killer instinct when she scored a 19th minute goal from a Meg Bucci corner kick. While the remainder of the first half was characterized by tight, combative midfield battles, the Lady Dons came out swinging in the second half. Fairfield struggled against USF pressure throughout the width of the field as fullbacks Sam Brand and Ashley O’Brien made penetrating runs down the flanks. In the 54th minute, junior midfielder Lauren Maris got on the end of a Fairfield deflection and tucked away USF’s second goal. Relentless aggressiveness led to a fantastic 23 yard goal from senior midfielder Kristina Hall in the 79th minute, stinging the fingers of Fairfield goalie Kelly Boudreau and driving just under the crossbar and into the net. Laura Gordon tallied the assist for the third and final goal. The Lady Dons advance to (3-1-0), continuing the positive start to their season. The women’s soccer season continues with two away games on Friday, Sept. 11 and Sunday, Sept. 13 against UC Riverside and CSU Fullerton, respectively.