With the clock ticking away in overtime, AU defender Mikalia Weaver took a redirect in the penalty box and tapped it past the Bryant University keeper for a 2-1 victory.
Even though it took overtime to win the game, AU was in control of the ball through most of the match. The team had 17 total shots, with most of them coming in the second half. Nine Eagles recorded a shot on goal, showing they were spreading the ball around.
“I think our ball movement and some of our freshman as well as our depth are leading to increased offense,” AU Coach David Bucciero said after the game. “[Patricia] Bailey is a perfect example of that, as she came off the bench and scored the first goal.”
Bailey had the only goal of what could have been an ugly first half for Bryant. The goal came in the 37th minute, shortly after Bailey was subbed for AU senior Kelsey Brasher. She had a rough start misplaying several balls, but she made them irrelevant when she took a short pass from senior Erin Koch and poked it passed the keeper.
AU maintained the momentum after the goal by keeping the ball up top. Even though Bryant got some corner chances, AU was able to clear the ball and go on the attack. While getting through the middle continues to be tough for the team, once they are in space they quickly take control of the game.
“We have changed formations from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3, which is more offensive minded,” Brasher said of the offense. “We are trying to get used to the system though and get good ball movement.”
The win brings a sigh of relief to a team that was unable to win in overtime last season. Last year’s team was mediocre at best, finishing the season with a 5-10-4 record. Of those 10 losses, one was in overtime. The four ties represent games, which if won, could have led to a very different season.
“I think it’s great for our confidence to take away two wins, and the manner that we did it, I was proud of,” Bucciero said. “The team wanted to do better in overtime, and I have no doubt that that mentality and focus was here this time.”
Several players stressed that they needed to improve in different areas to continue to do well this season. They are happy with the start of their season but don’t want to become too cocky.
“We should have put it away before overtime, we have to learn from it and improve,” Weaver said after the game. “[There] were a lot of shots we didn’t finish.”
AU will face the Richmond University Spiders Wednesday. It is the third of a four game home stand. The team’s 2-1 record is their best since the 2007 season.