A late offensive push by the Saint Joseph’s University women’s soccer team turned the University of Richmond’s 2-1 advantage into a 3-2 loss in the Spiders’ conference home opener on Sept. 17.
The game opened skewed in favor of the Hawks, whose edge in possession confined the Spiders to their half for much of the first ten minutes. However, a resilient UR defensive line ensured that a pair of SJU crosses easily dealt with by senior goalkeeper Taylor Montague was the extent of the Hawks’ offensive pressure.
From there, the Spiders were able to grow into the game, dominating large swaths of the first half after their slow start and testing St. Joseph’s keeper numerous times. Despite the Spiders going into halftime with the shot advantage, the first half closed without a goal for either side.
The first goal of the match was quick to arrive after the start of the second half. UR found themselves facing a 1-0 deficit after a set piece just outside the 18-yard box landed in a shuffle of red and white jerseys, eventually sliding past Montague amid the confusion.
It didn’t take long for a galvanized Spiders side to level the score, however. SJU’s lead evaporated after only four minutes, when sophomore midfielder Emma Shields crashed the box following a strike by graduate forward Molly Wierman, flicking the rebound just out of reach of SJU’s goalkeeper. The game remained knotted at one apiece for only three more minutes, until senior defender Casey Merz drove home a corner kick from Wierman to put UR up 2-1 with twenty-nine minutes left to play.
The waning moments of the match belonged to SJU, as the Hawks found the back of the net twice in the final fourteen minutes to escape with the comeback, 3-2 win. Both goals came down the left side, with SJU’s forward driving a cross to the top of the 18-yard box. In both instances, the cross connected with an SJU defender who was able to drive the ball into the corner of the net.
With around eight minutes left to draw even once again, the Spiders managed a handful more shots, but could not find the back of the net before time expired, falling to 0-2 in conference play, while handing SJU their first win on the season.
“The most disappointing thing is to be up late at home, and concede two late goals, and lose what is a really important game,” UR Head Coach Adam Denton said after the game. “We’ve got to shake it off and bounce back.”
The Spiders will next take on George Mason University at home in yet another A-10 conference matchup at 4:30 Sept. 21.
Contact sports writer Scott Valentine at email@example.com.
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