The Dons played in two intense, hard-fought matches against Boston University and Harvard this past weekend, and wound up splitting the two games. They defeated Boston University 1-0 on Sunday morning, but lost to Harvard by the same score two days earlier. USF improved its record 3-2-1 overall after its win over Boston, which was the squad’s second game in a three-game road trip.
Against the Boston University Terriers, who were the Patriot League conference champions last season with a 8-1-0 conference record, the Dons broke through early with a goal from sophomore defender Jessica Nakae. In the ninth minute, Nakae was positioned in the center of the box when junior forward Sydnie Telson sent her a pass, and Nakae converted for her second goal of the year and the only goal of the match. Telson’s earned her first assist of the year as well, and junior goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel got her second official shutout of the young season.
After Nakae’s goal, the Dons were locked in a defensive battle for the rest of the game.
“It was like an NCAA Tournament game. It was a grind-it-out, midfield game,” head coach Jim Millinder told usfdons.com. “I’m proud of the girls.”
On Friday, the Dons were caught in another tight affair against the Harvard Crimson, the defending Ivy League champions. USF stayed close to Harvard the entire game, and while the Dons had eight shots and three on goal, they never found the back of the net. Harvard, meanwhile, scored its lone goal of the game in the 36th minute, when freshman midfielder Dani Stollar received a corner kick and sent a header past Schiffel for the score. It was the only blemish on the day for Schiffel, who ended up with four saves.
Before heading to Harvard, the Dons hosted the USF Tournament from Aug. 29-31, and ended the weekend with a tie and a win. After falling behind 1-0, USF clawed back for a 1-1 tie against Portland State on Aug. 29. Two days later, the Dons were in complete control and won 3-0 over LIU Brooklyn.
The Dons will finish their three-game road trip on Friday, Sept. 12 at UC Davis at 5:00 p.m. After that, USF will come back home to face San Jose State on Sunday, Sept. 14 at 2:00 p.m. before embarking on a lengthy five-game road trip. USF will be looking to continue their positive early-season play before they begin challenging West Coast Conference opponents in October.