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Drake continues search for first victory

Story by Austin Cannon

Photo by Joel Venzke

wsoccer2_venzke-w2000-h2000The Drake University women’s soccer team played two games this weekend at Cownie Soccer Complex.

The Bulldogs lost Friday night to the University of Wyoming, 2-5, and battled for a 1-1 double overtime draw against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Sunday.

Drake couldn’t withstand the furious Wyoming attack in the first half Friday. The Cowgirls scored three goals in the first 12 minutes, courtesy of Liz O’Reilly, Lucie McDowell and Kasey Curtis.

And Wyoming wasn’t finished. McDowell tacked on another goal in the 29th minute and Laurel Ramer scored her first goal of the season in the 42nd minute.

The Bulldogs headed into the break down 5-0.

Senior Paige Dusek attributed mental issues to the first half struggle.

“I think we were in our own heads. I think we had a lot of pressure to perform. We were expected to be better than we have been performing,” Dusek said. “It was just breakdowns everywhere.”

Head coach Lindsey Horner noted that Wyoming simply took advantage of Bulldog miscues.

“We made mistakes and Wyoming was very good at capitalizing on their chances, and unfortunately, we couldn’t stop the bleeding until halftime,” Horner said in an email.

The second half saw a much different Drake team take the field.

In the 52nd minute, senior midfielder Brittany Schuling sent a corner king into the 18-yard box that was headed into the net by fellow midfielder Rebecca Rodgers, her first collegiate goal.

Drake put more pressure on the Wyoming goalkeeper in the second stanza, tallying 14 shots after only four in the first half.

Drake scored again in the 63rd minute when Wyoming was called for a foul and Dusek converted the penalty for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

That was the last score of the game as Wyoming survived Drake’s impressive second half to win 5-2 and improve to 2-1-1 on the year.

Sunday afternoon brought high temperatures and a hotly contested game against Green Bay.

This time, Drake struck first.

Rebecca Rodgers notched her second goal of the weekend by beating Green Bay goalkeeper Katy Pilarzyk in the 19th minute.

The Bulldogs went into the break leading 1-0.

Drake held Green Bay scoreless for the first 34 minutes of the second half, but it could not defend a pass off a corner kick leading to a Green Bay equalizer from Heidi Hartmann.

Regulation ended in a tie, resulting in overtime.

Both teams failed to convert in the first and second overtime periods and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Coach Horner was pleased with her team’s overtime efforts so far this season.

“Nobody likes tying, but we have played 40 minutes of sudden victory and haven’t conceded a goal. The determination we display during overtime to defend as a unit is promising,” Horner said.

Dusek thought the Bulldogs moved forward, despite the tie.

“I think yesterday we definitely turned a corner as far as people performing together … we’re finally turning that corner of digging deep and playing for each other,” she said.  “I think we finally figured out how to come in with energy.”

Six games into the season, the Drake freshmen have impressed the senior Dusek.

“People don’t realize the difference between high school, club and then Division I college soccer. There’s a huge difference. We’re asking so much of them.

“When I was a freshman, I was not asked to be put in these roles that we’re putting them in,” Dusek said. “They’ve done unbelievable for us [sic].”

Horner echoed her leading scorer’s comments.

“They have gained the understanding of what it takes to compete at this level and are positively impacting our program,” Horner said.

Drake (0-4-2) returns to action this weekend. The Bulldogs face the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Friday and play Southeast Missouri State on Sunday afternoon.

Two games per weekend, as they’ve been scheduled so far, aren’t exactly easy.

“It gets difficult, especially when we go into overtime like we did (Sunday), so some of us are playing 110 minutes and then 90 minutes. It definitely takes a toll on your body, especially the repetitiveness,” Dusek said.

With two weeks left before the Missouri Valley Conference season begins, Horner knows the games are becoming more and more vital to success.

“We are working this week to get more players into the attack, playing out if the back and defending and attacking set pieces.

“We have to start both games strong, and play with a sense of urgency. Our final tune-up games leading into conference will be really important,” Horner said.


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1 Comment

  1. G. W. Cannon September 12, 2013

    Very exciting reading! Cannon really writes so the
    reader gets the feeling of being there, right in the

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