The Dons’ effort was not lacking, but results were as they wrapped up their 2014 road campaign with scoreless losses to the No. 17 BYU Cougars and San Diego Toreros. Missed opportunities and costly mistakes led to the 3-0 loss to BYU and the 1-0 defeat at the hands of San Diego.
The Dons played a tremendous first half against the nationally ranked Cougars on Saturday night. USF came close early, but couldn’t secure a goal. In the ninth minute, senior forward Mackenzie Krieser’s shot bounced off of the goalpost, and in the 39th minute, it appeared as though the Dons had jumped ahead on a goal from junior forward Rochelle Weerackoon, but she was called for offsides.
Still, the Dons’ defense was successful, holding the Cougars scoreless in the first half. Going into the second period with a 0-0 tie, USF was in great position to steal a game from BYU.
USF maintained its solid play to start the second half, but when the Cougars found a small crack in the Dons’ defense, they took advantage. In the 60th minute, Elena Medeiros drilled a goal from 30 yards out over junior goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. From then on, BYU ran away with the match, scoring another two goals to shut out the Dons and remain undefeated (6-0) in the West Coast Conference.
“We were going to sit in and not chase them,” head coach Jim Millinder told usfdons.com regarding the team’s strategy. “The kids executed the game plan for the first 60 minutes. Our kids did a great job defending, but we got to score goals.”
The loss to the San Diego Toreros last Thursday had a similar start. The Dons outshot San Diego seven to three in the first half, but both teams remained scoreless until just seven minutes before the end of the match.
In the 84th minute, Schiffel was drawn out from goal and San Diego’s Nikki Pappalardo passed the ball to Jacqueline Altschuld, who scored the only goal of the game. The match came to a close and the Dons were took home the tough 1-0 defeat.
Despite the loss, freshman midfielders Sonja Giraud and Camille Wilson showed offensive skill. Giraud was fearless while taking on three defenders and still getting a shot off from inside the box in the 56th minute. Wilson also put the Dons in positions to score and took two shots on the night.
The Dons (6-9-2, 2-4-0 WCC) are home for their final three conference matches against Portland, Gonzaga and Pacific. The Dons will play the Portland Pilots on Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m.