There were foreboding omens before the University of Mary Washington Women’s soccer team hosted Averett University last Tuesday afternoon. All day, thunder had sounded every few minutes, shaking the buildings on campus, while a continual downpour flooded the walkways. However, the skies cleared just in time for the game to commence, though conditions were far from ideal.
“It was pretty wet, and the field was under water until kickoff, which made the field very soggy,” UMW Head Coach Corey Hewson said. “It made it difficult for us because we are a possession team who wants to control the ball, and it helped [Averett] because they are more direct and send it up the field quickly.”
The first half was a hard fought offensive battle. The first goal went Mary Washington’s way, as senior midfielder Marianne Dubinsky found the back of the net in the 25th minute. Yet, the Cougars’ were not deterred, and with under a minute remaining in the first half, Averett’s Pernilla Milton scored after the ball ricocheted to her off the crossbar.
The second period turned into an offensive war of attrition, as the Cougars attempted just five shots after the break and the Eagles got off none. Averett outshot UMW 14-7 for the game, with the Eagles having just three shots on goal compared to 10 for the Cougars.
Things got a bit heated after halftime, as both teams began fouling in quick succession. The Eagles drew three fouls in the second half and a yellow card. Averett was also given a yellow card, but they drew twice as many fouls as the Eagles.
Despite doing a better job of limiting Averett’s chances, UMW still surrendered a pair of second half goals. The Cougars Mathilda Hanson scored off an assist from Pernilla Milton in the 51st minute, and Averett struck again in the 66th minute when Annika Rindestedt got one past Eagles senior goalkeeper Tina Brehm to make it a 3-1 deficit for UMW. Though she allowed three goals, Brehm had seven saves in the game.
Hewson said that his team needs to focus on the things that they can control and not be distracted by outside things that they can’t change. He thinks his players can be overcritical of themselves at times and that they just need to relax, let instinct take over and just play.
“I think we have a very good opportunity to finish at the top of the conference,” Hewson said. “When we are moving the ball like we can and executing the game-plan, we are tough to beat. When we aren’t executing we make things difficult for us, and that’s why our toughest opponent this year has been ourselves.”
The defeat puts the Eagles record at 6-2-1 overall, and they remain 1-1 in conference play. The Lady Eagles hope to come back from the loss this Saturday, Oct. 1, when they host CAC rival Salisbury University.