Here’s our weekend round-up for the area’s local Division I women’s college teams.
- Both Robert Morris and Duquesne’s women’s s teams started off their seasons on Thursday and Friday respectively with tough losses on the road against Bucknell and West Virginia.
- On Sunday, both were seeking its first wins of the season, but would end up settling for draws.
- Pitt’s women’s team has started 2-0, after the Panthers defeated Bucknell on the road, 1-0, in second overtime on Sunday.
- After West Virginia, ranked 11th in the NCAA preseason poll, beat the Dukes in its home opener, 2-0, on Friday, they traveled to Penn State where they ran into No. 3 Stanford.
Late penalty for Loyola Marymount levels match with Duquesne
From Duquesne Athletics report
Pittsburgh, PA – Duquesne women’s soccer team (0-1-1) could not prevent a late penalty kick goal from Loyola Marymount (0-1-1) in the final minute of regulation, as the Dukes and Lions finished the contest in a 1-1 draw in the home opener at Rooney Field on Sunday afternoon.
Deena DeBaldo scored the Dukes’ first goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 22nd minute, giving Duquesne an early advantage. The Dukes would hold onto the lead until the 89th minute, when a foul inside the box allowed LMU’s Amber McCorkle to attempt a penalty kick. The attempt was successful, as both teams could not find the back of the net in overtime, resulting in a tie.
The Dukes roster, filled with Western PA-based players that includes DeBaldo, a sophomore from Fox Chapel. It was her fourth career goal which ranks second among the young Dukes’ roster.
Also, goalkeeper Megan Virgin (Canon-McMillan) made nine saves in net, including four in overtime. DeBaldo and Lexy Kendro (Norwin) each tallied three shots on net.
Coming off its narrow loss to Pitt on Friday night, LMU led the possession battle, 53 percent to 47 percent while 11 of LMU’s 16 shots reached the goal, while five of Duquesne’s 13 shots found the target.
In the dying moments of the contest, Duquesne nearly retook the lead after the LMU penalty kick, but an offside call disallowed the goal.
Duquesne will head to Appalachian State on Friday, August 30 in their next contest, before returning home to take on Lehigh on Sunday at noon at Rooney Field.
Reid’s Late Equalizer Caps Colonials’ Push
From RMU Athletics report
Moon Township, PA – On the flip side, Robert Morris women salvaged a tie with a late goal on Sunday.
Freshman forward Sheridan Reid netted her first career NCAA goal, lifting the Robert Morris University women’s soccer team to a 1-1 draw with Purdue Fort Wayne in Sunday’s home opener at the North Athletic Complex.
Reid, who hails from the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill, Pa., slid into the right side of the penalty area in the 79th minute and calmly slotted a grounded pass from fellow first-year Colonials attacker Kayla Veloso-Lima.
RMU (0-1-1) had trailed from the 16th minute onward in front of a boisterous home crowd made up of fellow student-athletes, so Reid’s magic moment delivered an emotional payoff.
“It was exciting,” Reid said. “Definitely wasn’t expecting to get one this early into the season. I’m proud of it.”
Reid’s finishing touch culminated a slick counterattack combination that took flight when senior Kristina Kelley fed a through-ball to Veloso-Lima, who one-touched it into Reid’s path. Purdue Fort Wayne keeper Lorah Pund didn’t have much of a chance, rushing out in desperation as the Colonials perforated her back line.
“I don’t think the defender saw me running behind her,” Reid said. “Just got past her and squeezed through and played it past the goalie.”
Sounds simple enough, but the visiting Mastodons (0-1-1) had the edge in play through the first 45 minutes, including Morgan Reitano’s knuckling 20-yard blast that eluded RMU starting goalkeeper Julia Schmid. Purdue Fort Wayne outshot RMU 7-3 in the opening half, putting three of those shots on target.
Colonials head coach John Kowalski chalked up the “lethargic” start to an early injury to junior midfielder Taylor Burkley, plus the realities of dressing seven freshman and a transfer. Kowalski said he was encouraged by the increased attack cohesion following intermission, as RMU generated 10 combined shots in the second half and the 20-minute overtime.
Of note: Freshmen Veloso-Lima (two shots), Reid (two), Gabriella Lecuona (two) and Sofie Lien Fagereng (one) joined forces for seven of the Colonials 13 shots toward goal.
“It took us a while to get going,” said Kowalski, now starting his 19th season leading the team. “We had a lot of freshmen in the attack. Second half and overtime were much better than the first half. We had a little regrouping at halftime.”
Added Reid: “It was just about cleaning things up and playing the way we should be playing.”
Part of that rebound involved junior keeper Sydney Bruckner, who entered the game at the half and made six saves. That marks back-to-back strong appearances for the central Pennsylvanian, who was also crucial in keeping RMU alive in Thursday’s season-opening overtime loss at Bucknell.
Bruckner saved her finest moments for late, when she twice had to sprint off her line to smother chances point-blank.
“Syd is very steady and consistent,” Kowalski said. “She wins a lot of aerial balls. There’s a little bit of lack of communication right now (between the keeper and the back line). All these are coachable moments. We’ll learn as we go.”
Actually, the Colonials nearly picked up a victory to go with the non-conference tutorial, as junior midfielder and Norwin grad Brittany O’Connell twice appeared to score from distance, only to watch Pund leap to tap the ball over the goal. Senior defender Megan DiNatale also nearly put RMU ahead in the second half when her deep cross deflected off Pund and the crossbar.
Regardless of the close calls, the Colonials can hang their hats on the fact they were better as the match wore on, a pattern they hope to replicate as they approach Northeast Conference play at the end of September.
“We’re still finding out a lot of information about the new players, who can do what and in what situations,” Kowalski said. “It’ll take about three or four games before we put the whole thing together. That’s OK. You have to grow into the season. That’s where we are.”
RMU will take on a week of practice before returning to its home field Saturday to host Niagara. Kickoff at the North Athletic Complex is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Stanford capitalized on WVU mistakes en route to 3-1 victory at State College
Christopher Pharis / WVU Athletics report
State College, PA – No. 11-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team could not overcome a three-goal halftime deficit as it fell to No. 3 Stanford, 3-1, at Jeffrey Field on Sunday.
WVU moves to 1-1 on the season with the loss, while Stanford improved to 2-0, with both wins coming over ranked opponents. The all-time series between the two teams is now tied at 1-1, as the Mountaineers earned the first win of the series in 2012.
“I said before the game that Stanford will capitalize on your mistakes,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “You have to give them all the credit, they capitalized when we made mistakes and unfortunately, we ran out of time at the end.”
Stanford jumped on the board early as the Cardinal took advantage of a WVU turnover deep inside of its own zone and Carly Malatskey placed a shot into the right side of the net to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead. The Cardinal added a pair of goals in the 35th and 40th minutes to take a 3-0 lead into halftime.
The Mountaineers started the second half fast as senior forward Jessica Lisi scored just 25 seconds into the second half when she lobbed a ball just over the goalie’s head from the left side of the box to cut the Stanford lead to 3-1.
Lisi’s score marked her first career goal at WVU and the 17th of her career after scoring 16 at Memphis from 2016-18. Alina Stahl picked up the assist for the Mountaineers, her first of the season.
WVU added three more shots in the second half, but only one landed on goal and was saved by Stanford’s goalie. Julianne Vallerand drew a penalty kick in the 84th minute, but WVU was unable to capitalize.
The Mountaineers edged Stanford 3-1 in corner kicks, while Stanford outshot the Mountaineers 13-4.
WVU returns to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium this Friday, Aug. 30, for a 7 p.m. match against High Point.