After a nice and sunny day, the cold started coming back from the ocean and invaded Negoesco Field when the women’s soccer team started their match at 7 p.m. against UC Riverside. The fog did not show up, and that may explain why more fans than expected filled the bleachers to support their favorite team, keeping their energy up and their bodies warm thanks to coffees and hot chocolates from the concessions stand.
The game had promised to be interesting as Riverside is considered a tough and solid team to play, but after their win against Santa Barbara the previous weekend – which permitted them to become the seventh ranked in the West for the first time since 2004 – the Lady Dons started the game in a confident state of mind and remained very aggressive from the beginning with a way higher possession of ball than Riverside. However, even with eight shots, USF was not able to score and the overall intensity of the game was up and down. The only real occasion occurred at the15th minute thanks to a powerful and precise shot from freshman Molly Hall.
Both sides committed faults and conceded several free kicks. In the first half the referee gave one yellow card to two Riverside players.
When the two teams went to their respective locker rooms for half time, the score was 0-0 and the women’s soccer needed to be more consistent in their game, keep monopolizing the ball and make occasions goals. The lady Dons came back on the field with the same state of mind as in the first half, but this time they had even more occasions to score.
In the 60th minute, after a good defense from the Riverside’s goalkeeper on a USF corner kick, the latter had a second chance with a second similar kick. The ball came to sophomore Ashleen Mazur – who played a great overall match – isolated in the six-yard area; she just had to stretch her leg and score. USF was leading and there was half an hour remaining.
Riverside tried to be more aggressive, but the Lady Dons stayed focused and the USF goalkeeper freshman Heather Haney stopped several decisive shots. When the referee blew the end of the game the women’s soccer team was relieved and happy with the win, which had to give them even more confidence before their game two days later against Nevada.
Technically, USF was supposed to be a stronger team than Nevada, so the women’s team had a psychological advantage on their future opponent.
When the match started, it was very sunny but also very windy. A lot of USF fans came to the game to support the team and it was with great surprise that several athletes from other USF teams attended the game as well. Some courageous and devoted Nevada’s fans had driven to San Francisco and did not hesitate to make their voice heard.
USF imposed its rhythm from the beginning and most of the game and actions in the first half happened in the Nevada’s side who were struggling to get the ball away from its goal cage. USF had five corner kicks and shot six times while their opponent had only one corner kick and shot five times. Unfortunately the lady Dons were unable to score, and the result was 0-0 at half time.
The coach found the right words in the locker room because when the women’s team came back on the field, they were even faster in their runs, more precise in their passes and more powerful in their shots. Like during the first half, most of the game was played in the Nevada’s side of the field.
Most opponents were overcome by great technical gestures, power and quickness – which made them commit a lot of faults and procured many dangerous free kicks to USF. The Lady Dons almost scored in the second half but the goal was refused by the referee who judged that the ball had not crossed the goal line. All the USF fans were of course revolted and contested the referee’s decision noisily, but this did not change anything.
Ten minutes before the end of the game, on one of the rare counter-attacks, Nevada scored thanks to a clean and powerful shot from Danielle Green. The Nevada fans got up, screaming of excitement while several USF’s fans scratched their head with resignation and others were shaking their head with an expression of disappointment on their face.
The Lady Dons fought until the end, but they did not score and when the referee announced that the game was over, most USF players’ expressions reflected frustration. However, they will have to move on and get ready for their next home game on Sunday, Sept. 19 against UC Irvine at 1 p.m.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach