By SAMANTHA WARRING
Saturday’s women’s soccer game against the Eastern Mennonite University Royals was a battle of wills for the Lady Eagles. Both teams strived for goals but neither could surpass the goalkeepers, as the game ended in a 0-0 tie. The first half passed with five shots on both sides, but neither team could capitalize on their opportunities.
In total, the Eagles took 21 shots compared to nine by EMU. Sophomore mid-fielder Meghan Seelye attempted four shots, junior defender Amy Olson had three, and junior defender Karen Strat also had three. Mary Washington also attempted seven corner kicks while EMU had just two. But despite the statistical advantages, UMW couldn’t get on the scoreboard.
“Your biggest opponent is yourself,” Coach Corey Hewson said at halftime to his team.
Those words inspired the Eagles as they came out and continued to fight hard in the second half and throughout the two periods of overtime. The team attempted 16 of their 21 shots after intermission, with 10 coming in the second half, four in the first overtime period and two in the second overtime.
“We had more energy and opportunities in the second half. We just weren’t able to capitalize,” Strat said. “The effort was there we just have to learn to work together in the offensive third.”
As the game went on to the second half still scoreless, UMW junior goalkeeper Tina Brehm and Royals’ goalkeeper Abby Diffenbach had more pressure shift to them to make vital saves to not allow their respective team to fall behind. Both Brehm and Diffenbach stepped up and made big stops to keep the game tied and give their team a chance for the win.
“They were frustrated, but they kept pushing and kept working,” Hewson said. “They kept fighting, and that’s how we made it to nationals last year.”
The Eagles were less than pleased with the quality of the officials on this night, but Hewson didn’t make any excuses after the game.
“You can’t blame officials for a match,” Hewson said. “You have to battle through. There were inconsistencies for both teams. When you don’t score, and calls don’t go your way, it adds to the frustration.”
The Eagles were called for nine fouls and EMU were whistled for four.
The women’s soccer squad is a rather young team, and they will try to use this game as a learning experience. This will change the way the team prepares for games for the remainder of the season.
“We need to find a rhythm and get on the same page,” Hewson said. “Once we do that, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Hewson went on to say that you cannot expect a team to instantly bond, but rather that it is something that happens over time.
While the team may be having some internal issues, it is still prudent to remember that it is very early in the season. This is only the second official game of the year, and there is time for the team to make small adjustments.
“Some things that we did well were winning 50/50 balls and switching the point of attack,” senior midfielder Sarah Tryon said. “We had the right thoughts. We just had trouble executing them.”
The Lady Eagles will get a chance to get back on the field and execute better this weekend, as UMW takes on Rowan University this Saturday at 1 p.m. and Bridgewater College on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.