Lady Hens survive OT thanks to Miller's goal
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 21:09
The Delaware women’s soccer team played an overtime thriller against George Mason University to win, 2-1, Sunday at Delaware Mini-Stadium.
The Hens improved to 5-4 on the season, including a 2-0 record in conference play.
The contest started out in a stalemate, with both squads playing solid back-and-forth defense. George Mason saw the first opportunity of the game as midfielder Mary Kate Lowry rocketed a shot from 30 yards out just over the cross bar.
Despite consistent pressure from George Mason, Delaware took an early 1-0 lead after Patriots’ goalkeeper Lyndse Hokanson misplayed a ball right in front of her own net. Hens’ forward Shannon Kearney took advantage of the easy opportunity as she smashed the shot into the upper right hand corner of the goal.
The remainder of the first half saw both teams resume their defensive style of play. Delaware sophomore midfielder Allegra Gray controlled the middle of the Hens’ defensive zone for much of the game, which caused significant issues for the Patriots’ offense.
However, Delaware would quickly squander their 1-0 halftime lead. In the 59th minute, Patriots’ forward Tiana Kallenberger dribbled down the right side through several Hens’ defenders and put an unstoppable shot off the left post and into the net. Delaware goalkeeper Jessica Levy didn’t have a chance to make a play on the ball.
“Number six had a great goal,” Levy said. “It hit the post and went right in. Defensively, there wasn’t much I could really do about it, but I think it helped a lot that we didn’t slow down. We didn’t give up. We kept pushing. Our defense played almost perfect the whole game.”
Delaware received four yellow cards in the second half, including one for assistant coach Nitani Soni.
With 18 minutes remaining in the contest, Soni engaged in a heated debate with the head official. The argument came shortly after Hens’ junior midfielder Chelsea Duffy appeared to be shoved to the ground in Delaware’s offensive box. Instead of Delaware receiving a penalty shot, George Mason was awarded a goal kick.
Senior Forward Ali Miller said the team was frustrated by the call.
“The officiating definitely impacted the game today,” Miller said. “I think everyone got a little mentally behind because we were getting pushed around and no one was on our side. But, I think the big part was being able to push through that, whether the ref was on our side or not.”
In the final moments of regulation, George Mason had several opportunities to take a late lead. With less than 10 minutes to play, Patriots’ forward Liz Hodges sailed a shot high and right of an open net. Delaware’s defense held up for the remainder of the game, which forced sudden-death overtime.
It did not take long for the Hens’ to score the game-winning goal. After just over five minutes of extra time, Miller scored on a deflection inside the Hens’ offensive box.
“I got the ball at the top of the 18 [Delaware’s offensive box] and I went to take a touch to shoot,” Miller said. “The defender ended up getting there first. When she went to clear I was in the middle of tackling her and it was a deflection that went right into the goal.”
elaware has now won three straight games, including their first two CAA matchups.
Despite starting their 2012 campaign with a 2-4 record, the Hens have rebounded to get themselves over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Head coach Scott Grzenda said he is proud that his team was finally able to come out with a win against a quality opponent.
“In all honesty, the real difference is we probably played some better soccer against our easier, earlier opponents,” Grzenda said. “But we’re still playing that good soccer and converting on some of the chances that we had, and we’re correcting some of the mistakes we made defensively.”