By ANDY LEONDARD
The University of Mary Washington women’s soccer team lost 2-0 to conference rival Salisbury University last Saturday.
After a loss to Averett University in their previous match, Mary Washington decided to try out a new defensive scheme in their game against Salisbury.
Instead of playing a zone-style defense, the team implemented a man-marking system. Junior Emmalee Denkler clarified what exactly that entails.
“A man-marking system is where each player is responsible for marking a specific player on the other team,” Denkler said. “If a player gets beat by their mark, another player is supposed to yell out to switch, and the player who got beat recovers to take the person helping’s position.”
The Eagles only practiced this scheme once at their practice the day before the game, so it isn’t surprising that there were some kinks in their communication and the fluidity of their switching in the game against Salisbury.
While Mary Washington had the first shot on goal, Salisbury was quick to respond with three of their own, and found the back of the net first in the 24th minute.
“The goal came from a miscommunication on the marks,” freshman right defender Jenny Mayo said.
Mayo stepped to take on what she referred to as, “the most dangerous mark,” but the defense didn’t recover fast enough to pick up Amanda Zyzak as she cut through a gap and scored off a pass from Kira Mangone. Salisbury’s lead went uncontested for the remainder of the half.
The Eagles came out stronger in the second half, in part thanks to Head Coach Corey Hewson’s speech to the team during the break.
“He told us to stop playing like girls and start playing like women because we were getting pushed off the ball,” Mayo said.
Things started clicking for UMW, and the Eagles got their best chance to get on the scoreboard when sophomore Erin Reynolds had a post-rattling rip on goal 10 minutes into the half.
“The shot really set the mood of the game,” Mayo said. “Unfortunately, momentum went back Salisbury’s way and they netted their second goal just two minutes later.”
The second goal Mayo referred to came in the 56th minute, when the Sea Gulls Morgan Brasch snuck one past Eagles goalie Tina Brehm.
Salisbury’s two goals highlighted the importance of communication in Mary Washington’s new defensive system. While it is still a work in progress, the Eagles are confident they will get it the new defensive scheme down.
“I guess we could’ve started learning and practicing it earlier, but we’re going to keep doing it,” Denkler said. “It will be easier to organize our defense in the future.”
Despite the lack of success in the opening game, Mayo said she thought the switch was a good thing that would benefit the team.
“It’s a team learning experience and it keeps everyone integrated,” Mayo said.
The UMW women’s soccer team coasted past Marymount University on Tuesday to rebound from consecutive losses. The win improved the Eagles to 7-3-1 for the season, and 7-2 in conference play. Their next challenge will come Wednesday, Oct. 12, when they travel to take on St. Mary’s College.