It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Baujan Field, but the Flyers fell 1-0 to Louisville. Photo courtesy of Peter Burtnett, Flyer News.
In their final non-conference game of the season, the Flyers women’s soccer team fell 1-0 to the Louisville Cardinals in a resilient effort on Saturday.
The Flyers started the game with the ball, but the Cardinals quickly grabbed an early advantage, and dominated the first 15 minutes of possession before being given a penalty kick after a foul by the Flyers’ sophomore midfielder Yaiza Navarro Leon. The spot kick was shot smoothly into the bottom left corner by Cardinals’ junior midfielder Maisie Whitsett, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
“I thought that we came out a bit flat to start the game today,” head coach Eric Golz said after the game. “I thought we responded to the penalty call against us in a good way.”
Possession evened out over the next 15 minutes, and the Flyers’ first real chance of the game came in the 25th minute, when a long through pass found sophomore midfielder Jessica Sheldon, who fired in a cross that was shot toward the net by senior midfielder Kara Camarco but was saved by the Cardinals’ goalkeeper.
But overall, Louisville was able to limit that exterior play by the Flyers, which Golz attributed to the Cardinals’ awareness of the “threat that Jess (Sheldon) can have.”
“We had to be more dangerous centrally,” Golz said. “And I think that they did a good job taking away the flanks, limiting the flanks. So I think it’s great for us to have to attack in different ways and find some different wrinkles within how we play.”
The rest of the first half kept up the physical, fast-paced nature of the game, and Louisville went into the break leading 1-0 and holding a staunch advantage in shots and shots on goal (5-1 each).
A big part of keeping those Louisville shots out for the most part was the play of sophomore goalkeeper Madelyn Dewey, who made her first collegiate start Saturday, who said it was great to get her first start.
“It was really long awaited,” Dewey said. “I had been working really hard for it, so I was really excited to get out there with my team.”
Dewey also said she was just “trying to go for it” on the penalty kick and got as close as she could, saying she would “get there eventually.”
Golz applauded the debutant Dewey, for her “distribution and communication.”
“It’s really difficult getting your first college start,” Golz said. “(I’m) ecstatic for her. I thought she came in and played with poise, and confidence, so a good day for her, and I thought she did a great job with taking advantage of the opportunity.”
In the second half, the Flyers kept up the pressure, but were unable to break through for the tying goal. The Flyers improved from just 1 first-half shot, to 4 in the second half.
The only real action in the second half was a couple of yellow cards, one on the Cardinals’ freshman midfielder Morgan Bentley in the 63rd minute, and the other against the Flyers’ own freshman midfielder, Mia Perri, in the 78th minute.
Free kicks were the last hope for the Flyers, but a floating shot from just outside the box by Navarro Leon was easily caught by the Cardinals’ goalkeeper in the dying embers of the 90th minute.
The Flyers lost 1-0, and fell to 3-2 on the season. Their next game will be against Duquesne on Sunday, March 14 in Pittsburgh, Penn., kicking off the Atlantic 10 season (will play Duquesne twice, and Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure three times each).
“I think we’re excited (to start A10 play),” Golz said. “We’re really grateful, we’ve had the opportunity to have some non-conference matches, and learn a lot via the matches about ourselves, learn a lot about things we’re doing well, things we need to add to our play. I think we are mentally and physically in a good place to head into conference play next week at Duquesne, and I’m just excited about it.”