The Dons struggled in the first two games of a five-game road trip. Travelling into the Rocky Mountains to take on Colorado and Denver, the Dons were shut out in both matches by scores of 3-0 and 1-0. The setbacks marked their first back-to-back losses of the season and dropped their record to 4-4-2.
On Sunday, USF was unable to come back after going down early, and ultimate suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Colorado (7-2). The Buffaloes struck quickly, scoring the first goal in the just fourth minute. For the Dons, junior forward Alex Alugas and sophomore defender Jessica Nakae had chances to tie the game in the first half, but neither of their shots were on target.
The second half began with another swift Colorado goal in the 49th minute, followed by a third goal in the 77th that effectively sealed the game. Despite the final score, the Dons fought hard throughout the match and got off six corner kicks in the second period compared to just one for Colorado.
On Friday, the Dons took a tough 1-0 loss against the Denver Pioneers. USF had two shots that were painfully close finding the net, but both bounced off of the goalpost.
The first scoring opportunity came early. In the ninth minute, Nakae dribbled in between two defenders and took a shot from 30 yards away, hitting the crossbar. The Pioneers were in possession of the ball for most of the first half, but remained scoreless at the end of the period to maintain the 0-0 tie.
Both teams came back in the second half looking to take the lead. The Pioneers were the ones to strike, scoring in the 47th minute. The Dons were not discouraged, though, and their relentless pressure opened up another opportunity. In the 50th minute, Alugas found some space and took a shot that struck the goalpost and danced tantalizingly along the goal line. Though the shot seemed destined to go in, it never fully crossed the line into the goal. The Dons kept up the pressure and continued firing shots, but just couldn’t come up with an equalizer.
However, head coach Jim Millinder had something more important to take away than a loss.
“The effort in the second half was unbelievable,” Millinder told usfdons.com. “I told the girls that is the best effort they put forward in my three years here.”
The Dons continue their road trip in Southern California, where they will play Cal Poly on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 12:00 p.m.