RACHEL DEVOR / THE EAGLE
The No. 25 Eagles are coming off a rough weekend after falling 4-1 in the season opener against Richmond and then dropping a 2-1 decision against No. 3 Old Dominion two days later.
Rosario Villagra’s 12th-minute goal proved to be the game winner for ODU against a competitive Eagles team.
“I just thought that we fought today,” head coach Steve Jennings said. “I thought we really laid it on the line”.
A bright spot for the Eagles was their junior goalkeeper Ashley Dalisera, who turned away nine shots. The ODU offense totaled 20 shots with 11 penalty corners on the afternoon.
“Ashley was huge,” Jennings said. “She basically was in the right space, so she ended up making a ton of saves for us. It was critical. The game definitely could have gotten away from us if she hadn’t stepped up and performed really well there.”
Freshman Keelin Winslow scored the team’s lone goal, but the Eagles could only manage two shots on goal against ODU’s stingy defense.
After playing the third-ranked team in the nation close, Jennings saw some positives his team can take into their upcoming matchups.
“We made some really good tactical adjustments as the game progressed,” Jennings said. “And now I think we’ll be able to start with those from the beginning and put a lot more pressure on teams the way we want to, and I think we learned a lot more about ourselves today.”
Gina Hofmann will look to lead the Eagles into their next contest Aug. 30 at home against No. 15 Ohio State.
Hofmann scored the team’s only goal in the season-opener against Richmond and assisted on AU’s only score against ODU.
“Alex [McMackin] has been awesome up top, and Gina [Hofmann] has been super strong, our backbone in the defense,” Jennings said. “So we’ve had a lot of strong core leadership throughout the lines, and I think we’ll continue to see improvements on that as the season progresses.”
Ohio State won’t be the only upcoming test for the Eagles, who will head to Harrisonburg, Va., Sept. 2 to take on the James Madison University Dukes.
“Each weekend of the season we want to keep getting better,” Jennings said. “It’s a long year, and sometimes you start off a little bit slower than you want, but I think we’ll be there in the end.”