After holding off a powerful Navy team during the first half, the AU women’s soccer team couldn’t tie it up in the second and fell to the Midshipmen, 1-0, in Annapolis, Md. on Sept. 28.
“Despite the loss, I thought we played very well and were unlucky not to tie it up,” AU head coach Dave Bucciero told AU Athletics. “We responded well after going down a goal, and I don’t think we are that far off. We have to not let this loss drag us down and focus on our next two conference games Friday and Sunday.”
Navy (13-1, 1-0 PL) went scoreless throughout the first 45 minutes of play in the conference match, uncharacteristic of the women who have averaged three goals per game on the season.
For one of the first times this season, it was AU (2-8-2, 0-1 PL) attacking the opposing team first. Just three minutes in, Brenna Smith took a shot that was snatched away by Navy goalkeeper Elizabeth Hoerner.
The next AU shot came in the 20th minute when Erin Mulhern’s kick went wide of the net. Navy was strong offensively but couldn’t get a shot in the net as the women registered seven shots in the first half with a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Then, Navy notched the breakthrough goal.
Early in the second half, Morgan Dankanich struck with her eighth goal of the season to put the Midshipmen up 1-0. Paloma Perez and Ashlynn Soellner assisted on the header, which came in the 57th minute. The lone goal helped Navy extend its winning streak to 12, which is currently the longest in Division I women’s soccer.
Following the Navy goal, numerous AU
attempts to push across the equalizer weren’t successful.
Nicole Paviglionite and Stephanie Glover each took shots within almost 10 minutes of each other, but Hoerner saved both attempts. Jasmine Mohandesi’s shot went wide in the 77th minute while Erin Mulhern’s attempt with four minutes remaining flew above the crossbar.
Despite letting up one goal, Charlene Belanger stayed consistent in net for the Eagles, matching her season high with eight saves on the night. Navy outshot AU 17-12 with a 9-4 edge in shots on goal.
While an upset win over the Mids would have been a great start to Patriot League play, AU should be optimistic looking ahead to its next couple of games.
AU will face Lehigh Oct. 5 and Lafayette Oct. 7, back on their home turf. The Eagles should be evenly matched against both teams, and a win against both Lehigh Valley rivals is crucial for both morale and their conference record.