On a warm Saturday afternoon, the Franciscan University of Steubenville women’s soccer team took on Hilbert College, pulling out the win in a thrilling 2-1 match. This game marked the opening of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference regular season play for both teams.
The Lady Barons were coming off two shutout losses at the hands of Washington & Jefferson University and Chatham University, respectively. This time, they were hoping to return to their winning ways against Hilbert; it was the offensive pressure which ultimately got the job done.
The Lady Barons began the game with great offensive consistency, keeping Hilbert on the defensive. With 12 overall shots and seven on goal, the Lady Barons kept knocking on the door of breaking their goal drought, which spanned the past two games. Finally, in minute 20, junior midfielder Elizabeth Dawyot, assisted by freshman Sarah Cocozza’s great pass, scored a magnificent goal. It was scored right outside of the penalty box to put the Lady Barons on top 1-0, effectively snapping their scoring drought.
The Lady Barons’ defense held up efficiently over the rest of the half, and did not allow the Lady Hawks to gain offensive ground for most of the half. The Lady Hawks could only muster two shots on goal the entire half. However, in minute 45 with time running out, the Lady Hawks capitalized on a a free kick rebound and their offense put the ball in the back of the Franciscan net. Interestingly, the play was called back and the goal was negated due to a Lady Hawks player being offsides. Thus, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Lady Barons at the half.
As the second half began, the Lady Hawks came out and attacked the ball, generating scoring opportunities with multiple shots on goal. As the second half progressed, the Lady Barons responded with opportunities of their own. They upped the pressure around the 65th minute, and in the 76th minute, they scored once again, this time when senior midfielder Megan Luiso scored, courtesy of a great assist from across the field by freshman forward Gracie Tillman. This put the Lady Barons up 2-0.
The Lady Barons maintained pressure on the Hilbert defense, making more opportunities to score available, but not converting them. Hilbert would tack on a goal early in the 90th and final minute of the game, to cut the Lady Barons’ lead in half. However, Franciscan held on for the victory and started this season’s conference play with a much needed win.
Coach Clare McBane said on today’s victory, “It’s exciting and encouraging, but we still are keeping our heads down, trucking through and staying focused. Both of those losses we didn’t intentionally play harder to learn a lot, but we want to keep improving, and there is still lots to be done.”
The Lady Barons will continue conference play and their season at home on Oct. 7 against Pitt. Bradford during Homecoming Weekend.