Eagles stomp Lafayette 4-2
Womens soccer 2-1 in Patriot League
AU Women's Soccer grabbed a vital 4-2 home win over Patriot League foe Lafayette Saturday, Oct. 11, riding goals from both expected and unexpected sources.
Sophomore forward Marcela Ricupero played her best game this year, scoring her team-leading fifth and sixth goals this season, and adding her second assist. But it was the first career goals of junior defender Amy Muller and sophomore defender Meg Runeari that pushed the Eagles over the Leopards. The Eagles are now 2-1 in the PL heading into Tuesday's match at league leader Navy.
"We pressured for 90 minutes, we came out strong and we stayed strong," Ricupero said. "If we play on Tuesday like we played today, I think we will do well. The pressure is on them."
Muller's goal was perhaps the most important of the day. AU had dominated play but looked to be headed to halftime with only a 1-0 lead. Then sophomore defender Lena Winkler took a right-sided corner kick, and after a flurry in front of the goal the ball fell to Miller. She ripped a shot past Lafayette 'keeper Marissa Mullins with only four seconds left in the half.
"It was great, I couldn't have been happier," Muller said of her first collegiate goal. "I've had a couple assists before but not a goal. And it was good to have more of a cushion going into the second half."
"It was huge," AU Head Coach Michael Brady said of Muller's goal. "Soccer pundits will tell you that goals at the beginning and end of each half have a major emotional impact. It was great service from Lena and Amy stayed composed and scored a very important goal."
Ricupero's brace sandwiched Muller's goal, with her first coming off an assist from Muller. In the 13th minute, Ricupero got free on the right side of the goal and latched onto Muller's chip. Ricupero then lobbed Mullins, putting the ball in the left side netting. Then in the 68th minute, Ricupero latched onto a cross from sophomore midfielder Simone Konig, who played free down the right wing through impressive build-up play.
"Today was very encouraging," Ricupero said of her performance. "In the beginning of the season I pulled my quadricep, and then later I hurt my knee. To know I can play this well even though injured helps a lot."
Lafayette pulled a goal back in the 76th minute through midfielder Meghan Ramsey, who beat a poor AU offside trap and latched onto a through ball from midfielder Katie Morton.
She then evaded charging AU 'keeper Lauren Wohl, and slotted the ball into the empty net.
But Leopard comeback thoughts were short-lived as Ricupero assisted on an AU goal. This time Runeari was on the end of a right-sided cross in the 85th minute. Lafayette scored a consolation goal two minutes from time through midfielder Kellie McMahon.
AU now has the daunting task of getting focused for the PL season's most important game so far on only three days rest. But it is a position the Eagles want to be in.
"I think the fact that it is a big game will help our players focus quickly," Brady said. "Navy feels they have an awful lot to prove, with us beating them in the conference tournament last year. We need to maintain our focus, and we can't afford to give away a couple of soft goals like we did today."
"If the team keeps playing like this," Ricupero said, "I think we have a very good chance to hopefully win out [in the PL] and host the tournament"