Soccer falls to WCU in closing minutes

Category:  Sports
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 9:26 AM
Soccer falls to WCU in closing minutes by Erica Burkholder
Photo: Kelly Staschak

Edinboro women’s soccer lost their homecoming game in the last few minutes, 1-0, to West Chester University on Saturday.

West Chester dominated the shooting totals in the first half. But goalie Anna Voelker and the defense worked together to hold off West Chester’s offense. Voelker had a major save in the last four minutes when she caught an attempt in a dive.

Though they couldn’t produce any goals, ‘Boro had two stand-out offensive plays in the last few minutes of the first. Brittany Hurey received a long pass and faced a one-on-one situation with a defender to make a shot, but the ball drifted off target and missed wide.

Hurey had another chance a few minutes later when she received a Jessica Frank pass that put her on pace with the defense, but her shot was knocked out of the air by West Chester’s keeper and cleared by the defense.

The Fighting Scots defense worked the entire game to shut down West Chester. The defense put their body on the line many times, with Jenna Derbis being one of the midfielders in almost constant action, along with fellow midfielder Sidney Dobbins. 

“Me and Sid work well together,” Derbis said. “We know if it’s on her side, she has it, or mine [I have it]. We’re just aggressive players, I think, and it’s easier for us to kind of find the ball with each other.”

Cameron Bujnoski became the last line of defense, besides the goalie, often shutting down breakaways and pass attempts. 

Maggie Fragapane joined Bujnoski in shutting down attempts when she took the ball away from a Golden Rams striker about 9 minutes into the second half. 

Bujnoski helped send the ball back up the field minutes later when the Rams tried to bring the ball down the wing. 

The second half picked up intensity as both teams gained more confidence, with Edinboro’s defense in particular pushing up more than they did in the first. Head Soccer Coach Gary Kagiavas said the defense kept Edinboro in the game and gave them an opportunity to win.

“The kids did their job today,” he said. “They did everything I needed them to do. It was very impressive. It’s just one of those things [where] somebody’s got to lose. Unfortunately it was us today.” 

The Fighting Scots started a high-intensity series about 20 minutes into the half. Ellie Frania had a breakaway that West Chester’s goalie deflected, and less than minute later, Dobbins had a shot that was brushed over the bar by the keeper. Mary Sinan attempted a shot a few minutes later, but could not find the net. 

Kagiavas said the team has played consistently well in the past few games but has struggled to actually score.

“We just can’t finish,” Kagiavas said. “I mean, we practice hard. We had a good gameplan again today; we knew what was coming, we kind of prepared for it well, we did everything well and then can’t score.” 

West Chester scored the game’s sole goal in the 87th minute. The Fighting Scots defense and midfield were attempting to clear the ball near the box when a Golden Ram gained possession near the 20-yard line and passed to Kendall Rich in the box. Rich, facing off with a ‘Boro defender, took a shot that bounced in a way Voelker was not prepared for. 

What made the goal even more heartbreaking was that Voelker and the defense put together a great save a minute before.

‘Boro attempted to gain back that point a few times in the next couple minutes, with a Rebecca Manns attempt being the closest when the goalkeeper left an open net. Unfortunately for the Fighting Scots, one of the defenders stepped in to clear the ball. 

The Scots battled until the last few seconds when the ball was still deep in their defensive zone, but they couldn’t get another attack in. 

The game was shown on ESPN 3, but Derbis said the extra attention did not affect her game.

“I tried not to think about it. I mean, the two-minute break was kind of nice,” Derbis said. “No, it didn’t really make me nervous.”

With the loss, Edinboro fell to 2-8 overall and 1-8 in PSAC play. The Fighting Scots host Clarion Wednesday before taking over a week off from play. They will host Indiana University of Pennsylvania Oct. 12. The Crimson Hawks are 5-4-1 overall and 3-4-1 in the PSAC.

Erica Burkholder can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: sports, soccer

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