Women's soccer loses close season finale against Loyola Maryland
Loss costs American chance at postseason
American University women’s soccer (3-9-4) lost to the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (11-5) 2-1 on Oct. 25 at Reeves Field. Their loss, and Colgate’s subsequent win over Holy Cross, cost them the final spot in the Patriot League postseason.
American kicked off but immediately went on the defensive, with junior goalkeeper Julia Kato saving a shot from Loyola within the first minute of the game. The defense continued to clear the ball, but Loyola’s aggressive playstyle kept the ball in American’s defensive end. Despite that, the Eagles continued to defend the oncoming pressure with freshman defender Bella Vozar interrupting a quick breakaway by Loyola.
The Eagles proceeded to turn up the heat, with freshman forward Lailah Stewart getting American’s first shot off 15 minutes into the game. After some intense back and forth, senior forward Abby Dillon scored the first goal of the game. However, two minutes after that, Loyola scored to match the Eagles.
American’s defense stayed strong, the team determined to score another goal. Kato stood out saving the shots that came her way, as did freshman defender Kendall Henderson stopping a rapid breakaway and junior forward Jennifer McGuire intercepting a pass to push American further up the field. The Eagles continued to push Loyola back into their half of the field, but despite the pressure, Loyola scored another goal right before the buzzer called halftime.
Loyola played with a fire under them to start the second half, but the Eagles’ attack matched their energy. American drew more fouls as the game went on and sophomore midfielder Avery Klingensmith had the first shot of the half in the 52nd minute after junior midfielder Brooke Steel cleared it from American’s goal. The Eagles’ defense kept Loyola to just three shots this half. Junior defender Giuliana Capraro stopped a breakaway in the 56th minute and Klingensmith held off the midfielders from getting closer to the goal to keep American in the game.
Stewart kept up the pressure and got a quick breakaway and cross, earning the Eagles’ first corner 78 minutes into the game. Things got heated when senior forward Izzy Kadzban got two shots off back to back but was blocked by the Loyola defenders.
As the seconds on the clock ticked down, American’s defense held an impressive stance. Sophomore defender Eliza Fisher managed to stop a breakaway from getting into the goal box in the 87th minute, allowing the team to push forward. Both teams showed their spirit and continued to look for any shot opportunities at the opposing goal. American pushed the ball back onto Loyola’s half, but the scream from the buzzer indicated that the game was over, and Loyola won 2-1.
“We continue to need to zoom into set pieces and form a defensive standpoint,” head coach Marsha Harper said. “Other than that, it’s really just a mentality thing and the belief — making sure they have the belief and confidence to carry them through.”
The Eagles’ loss to the Greyhounds marks the end of their 2023 season.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks.