Women’s Soccer: Strong Dons Defense Contributes to Two Big Wins

The Dons rebounded from a loss in their third game of the season to defeat both the Harvard University Crimson and the University of California, Davis Aggies in their home tournament at Negoesco Stadium last weekend. USF’s record now stands at 4-1-0, their only loss being a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Detroit Mercy on Sept. 1.

The Dons won the Sunday, Sept. 6 match against Harvard 1-0 thanks to their excellent defense. Harvard controlled the ball for much of the game, outshooting the Dons 16-5, but the Crimson only managed three shots on goal. Offensively, San Francisco was struggling to control the pace of the game. What they lacked in offense, they made up for with their defense.

In the second half the Dons were able to capitalize when junior forward Mackenzie Krieser was tripped in the penalty box while dribbling towards the goal. The Dons were awarded a penalty kick, and junior midfielder Jaciara Mello drilled the ball into the left side of the net. The Dons were up a single goal, but Harvard stayed aggressive and continued to attack the Don’s defense as they had been doing much of the game. However, USF was able to prevent Harvard from scoring for the rest of the game, and prevailed, taking the victory on their home field in the tournament they hosted.

In the opening game of the tournament for USF on Friday evening against UC Davis, sophomore forward Rochelle Weerackoon scored a goal from the right side of the penalty box in the 72nd minute that put USF ahead 1-0, a lead they would keep until through the final minute. From then on, the Dons’ defense prevented several desperate attempts by the Aggies to tie the game in what little time remained. Although it is still early in the season, USF is already focused on earning a spot in the NCAA tournament.

“Every game matters to us,” Weerackoon said. “We want to go to the NCAA. We just need to do whatever it takes to win, so when the ball came in and I saw the opportunity, I got on it.”

So far this season, the Dons have already developed a knack for limiting the teams they have played to one goal or less. In the five games that they have played this season, they have only allowed a total of two goals from their opponents. USF will look to continue this streak of defensive prowess when they go up against the University of Nebraska in Lawrence, Kansas on Friday, Sept. 13. The Dons face a lengthy five-game road trip and before returning home to face University of California, Berkeley on Sept. 30 at 7:00 P.M.

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