There was a change of time for the women’s soccer game: originally scheduled at 7 p.m. last Friday, the match started at 5 p.m. It was a very sunny and warm day when the Lady Dons began to play against the Rebels of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
From the first 30 minutes, UNLV was very aggressive, trying not to lose the ball, searching for strategies, dribbling and trying their luck, but USF’s defense was ready, focused and aware of their opponents’ skills. After these first 30 minutes, our defenders found time to catch their breath when the attackers started to impose their rhythm. Unfortunately, their assaults were not convincing enough, and while the attackers of UNLV lost in efficiency, their line of defense was very well organized and hard to break through.
Physically, the game was intense, fast. As the match started balancing out, the two teams had to run back and forth everywhere on the field. Players from both sides also committed more faults, conceding several dangerous free kicks.
In the bleachers, men, women and children cheered their teams.
“Go USF!” or “Go UNLV!” was heard throughout the stands.
Someone shouted, “Come on #30, get up and play soccer!”
Another yelled at the referee, “Are you serious! How much did they pay you?”
At the end of the first half, both teams left the field and their fans to rest and discuss strategies in the locker rooms.
During the second half the Lady Dons dominated more, not letting the Rebels impose their rhythm and being aggressive from the beginning. All players showed amazing expenditure of physical energy, aggressiveness and intelligence though, in order to unhinge the opponent and score.
The weather became colder, but did not prevent the fans from being enthusiastic, passionate and talkative.
Around the 80th minute, USF and UNLV’s players showed signs of tiredness by being a little less fast and committing more faults; this did not benefit anyone and the ladies had to play overtime – twice ten minutes – to try to win this game.
The real opportunity the Lady Dons had to score occurred during the first overtime period, only a few minutes after it started. #8 Ashley O’Brien was about 23 feet, alone in front of the goal, but her kick veered left and roll off the game area by brushing the post.
At the end of the game, head coach Mark Carr said, “We had a solid performance tonight. We were terrible in the first half, but we turned it around in the second half. We should have won the game, but we’re not conceding goals, so we’re putting ourselves in a good spot.”
Next home game will be played on October 11th against St Mary’s. This game will open the West Coast Conference competition.