Women’s soccer falls short in 1-0 game against Loyola

The Eagles wrapped up their final game from Reeves Field in this tight division battle

Women’s soccer falls short in 1-0 game against Loyola
AU women's soccer lost to Loyola on April 3.

American University women’s soccer (0-4) fell to Loyola (3-1) in a 1-0 shutout on Saturday afternoon from Reeves Field. Though AU hasn’t been able to find its way into the win column or score a goal this season, the team has shown week-to-week improvement in its passing completion, strength in the backline and movement as a unit on both sides of the ball.

The day’s lone goal came in the 69th minute off a bouncing shot from Loyola’s Sarah Bayer that dropped past AU goalie Ryleigh Brown. Loyola’s offense also had other chances to add to its tally throughout the game, including a rescinded goal in the second minute that was called back due to an offside call, serving as a wake-up call for the Eagles.    

AU’s defense showed noticeable improvement against the Greyhounds compared to early games this season, with this game’s force led by plays from Abby Dillon, Cailynn Adelman and Tori Kent. The team made a strategic effort not just to clear the ball from the AU side of the field, but looking to build plays with the ball on the ground, which allowed the Eagles to set up for rushes in the offensive final third of the field. 

Sophomore Alysa Vazquez had multiple scoring opportunities, with five of the Eagles’ eight shots on the day and two shots on goal. With time winding down and AU looking for the equalizer to send the game to overtime, AU made a run that included a non-penalty call on Vazquez as she got tripped up inside the box. AU settled for the corner kick in its final opportunity that resulted in two shot opportunities, but both were just off target and time expired without AU connecting on its first goal of the season.

Brown had a notable day for the Eagles, playing all 90 minutes of Saturday’s matchup, which allowed her to move into American’s all-time top five for minutes played in goal (3,254). 

A metaphor that head coach Marsha Harper and assistant coach Katie Greenberg talk about with this team is “laying bricks.” They call these bricks the foundation of the program and say that each laid brick should be celebrated because of the work that went into it. In this game against Loyola, Harper is celebrating those efforts on the field. 

“I think this is our most complete match,” Harper said. “I'm really excited about the bricks that we've implemented and the girls have started to lay down. I think it was a complete game, defensively as well as offensively. Our players just played with a little bit more grit, and they also use their intelligence and their soccer IQ, which they've been steadily building upon this season. So really proud of them and the bricks that they have been laying.”

Three of AU’s four games this season have ended in 1-0 final scores. Each contest has been a tight matchup that could have gone either way, and each time, the Eagles have come up on the short end. Though the Eagles have not had the offensive moments they were aiming for this season, Saturday's matchup provided some bright spots despite the offensive shortcomings.

“I think today especially we saw some great attacking opportunities, stuff we haven't seen before,” sophomore Ashley Molz said after the game. “The final piece is finishing. We were there a few times, we've just got to get it in the back of the net.” 

The Eagles will round out their season on the road when they take on Navy this Friday at 7 p.m.

cfisher@theeagleonline.com

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