By ALLISON KISSELL
On Saturday afternoon, the women’s soccer team hosted the nationally ranked Rowan University squad. Despite their best efforts and plenty of noise from home team supporters armed with the World Cup vuvuzelas horns, the Eagles fell to the 12th-ranked Owls 2-1.
During the first half, Rowan junior Veronica Rhea scored the first goal, assisted by freshman Dayna Sakalsky. The score remained in Rowan’s favor through halftime, until UMW senior forward Gabriela Rangel-LaFuente tied the game, scoring unassisted on Rowan goalie Deana Wood. However, Sakalsky again played a role in the Rowan victory, scoring with just over five minutes left in the contest to give the Owls a lead that they would not relinquish.
Regardless of the scoreboard, UMW Coach Corey Hewson spoke positively on the team’s overall performance on Saturday against such an experienced team.
“We did a good job of shutting down key players and challenging their best players to be better than ours,” Hewson said.
Despite the loss, the Lady Eagle players also discussed positives they could take away from Saturday’s game.
“We fought for every ball and worked hard making runs off the ball and getting back on defense,” goalie Tina Brehm said. “When we gained possession, we did a fantastic job of moving the ball around to get up the field.”
In total, Rowan outshot the Eagles 12 to six and had four corner kicks. Senior Gabriela Rangel-LaFuente had three of UMW’s six scoring attempts, with sophomores Meghan Seelye, Sunny Herold and Emmalee Denkler each having one. Although the women failed to seize the victory, Rangel-LaFuente expressed pride in her fellow Eagles, “Every single person put in 100 percent,” she said.
As it is early in the new season, the Lady Eagles are still experimenting with new preparations and techniques.
“I think it definitely started with our new warm-up we did today,” Rangel-LaFuente said. “It was one of the best and most energetic warm-ups we’ve had, and that was carried through into the game.”
When asked about the team’s future goals and aspirations throughout the upcoming season, both coach and players agree a main factor is consistency.
In order to win league conferences in a month and half, Coach Hewson said that the team’s “mix of older and younger players need to find consistency.”
“This season we will be working on consistency,” Brehm said. “Last year we would wait until the second half to play, but we need to play a full 90 minutes to see better results this season.”
Sunday, the Lady Eagles were victorious over Bridgewater College 2-1, bringing their season record to 2-1-1. They play their next home game Saturday Sept. 18 verse Wesley College.