The AU women’s soccer team finally got its footing Aug. 25, gaining a 2-1 victory against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers after losing two matches and tying one during its season-opening four-game road trip.
Jasmine Mohandesi was a bright spot for the Eagles, scoring in three of the team’s four games. Michelle Montilio stuck out in the Aug. 19 game against Saint Joseph’s, earning her sixth-career goal and fourth-career assist.
Charlene Belanger got the nod in goal for all four games, tallying 16 saves over the eight-day stretch.
The victory over UMBC saw freshman Kelly Donovan score her first career goal after retrieving a pass from Erin Mulhern inside the box to put AU up 1-0.
After Belanger failed to save a shot inside the right post early in the second half, the Eagles and Retrievers remained tied at 1-1 for over 25 minutes.
Mohandesi’s game-winning goal came from 10 yards out in the 78th minute to secure the victory.
AU defeated the Retrievers in part by outshooting them 17-8, which included an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal.
“We played well in the first half, but lost our rhythm a bit early in the second half,” head coach Dave Bucciero told AU Athletics. “After UMBC tied the match, we regained our composure and I’m very pleased that we found a way to win.”
But the shots weren’t flying in as easily in the beginning of the road trip.
The Eagles failed to score in their season opener at Villanova Aug. 17, falling to the Wildcats 2-0 after being outshot by a 16-1 margin.
Two days later, AU scored two goals at St. Joseph’s, but the Hawks ultimately tied the match in the 85th minute to earn the 2-2 draw.
“I thought we played very well in the first half and we showed guts in the fact that we came from behind to score two very nice goals in the second half,” Bucciero told AU Athletics after the game against St. Joseph’s. “Unfortunately we allowed a late goal, which is something that we can learn from.”
Mohandesi continued her great start to the season with a goal in the first half off a corner kick opportunity in the Aug. 22 match at George Mason. AU held a 1-0 lead into the second half, but the Patriots came from behind to score back-to-back goals for the win.
The win against UMBC will give AU some much needed confidence heading into its home opener against Liberty Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. The Eagles will be at home for five consecutive matches until they head to nearby George Washington Sept. 18.