After Jasmine Mohandesi’s first-half goal put the Eagles up early, the AU women’s soccer team dominated on the defensive end to defeat Bucknell, 1-0, Oct. 13 in Lewisburg, Pa.
The Eagles (5-8-2, 3-1 PL) have now shut out three straight opponents for the first time since 2001. They are also on a three-game winning streak against Patriot League opponents for the first time since 2009.
Saturday’s victory wasn’t secure until the clock hit zero, with the Eagles battling to hold onto their slim one-goal lead throughout the second half.
“We played great in the first half and struggled in the second half, as we started to be fatigued and Bucknell picked up their intensity,” AU head coach Dave Bucciero told AU Athletics. “This is a good Bucknell side, and to win up here is a great result for our team.”
The AU offense came alive early, when Danielle Beard’s shot flew high over the crossbar in the sixth minute. The Bison (9-7, 2-2 PL) then took the ball back, forcing three corner kick opportunities that they could not capitalize on.
Charlene Belanger continued to dominate in goal for the Eagles, snatching Courtney Nelson’s shot in the 24th minute.
Following the save, Michaela Cowgill carried the ball up the field, where Michelle Montilio picked it up and passed to Mohandesi, whose shot from 12 yards out put AU up 1-0.
The Eagles almost doubled their lead seconds later, but Carleigh Morba’s shot was saved.
Bucknell started the second half aggressively, when Taryn Boucher’s shot off a corner kick was pushed out by the AU defense in the 57th minute.
Bucknell had a great chance to tie it up on a penalty kick in the 85th minute, but Kayla Yee’s shot soared just a little bit too high, flying over the crossbar to maintain the one-goal Eagle lead.
Like almost every win this season, the Eagles defense was what saved them as the offense just wasn’t present throughout the second half. Bucknell outshot the Eagles 14-12, with a 7-4 edge in shots on goal for the game.
Belanger was once again the star of the game, as the goalkeeper posted her third straight shutout on seven saves.
“I know our team is confident we can win each and every game,” Bucciero said. “But we also know Holy Cross and Army will present difficult challenges and we will have to play well.”
AU will look to continue its winning streak when it takes on a tough HC team Oct. 19 in Worcester, Mass.