Story by Emily Gregor
This past weekend, the Drake University women’s soccer team headed out to the west coast to face Pacific and UC Davis in the Pacific Soccer Classic.
“This was a great trip for us because we played two opponents that are from out of region,” said head coach Lindsey Horner. “We had to adapt and adjust to the new environment, opponents and demands of traveling.”
The first game, Friday night, the Bulldogs played Pacific (0-2-1).
“Friday was an incredibly physical, intense game, and Pacific had some great attacking players that we contained for the most part,” Horner said.
The first half was pretty quiet, with a few goal attempts here and there, but it was just seconds into the 48th minute when the field came alive.
Brittni Beeman netted the ball for the Tigers off an assist from Alex Hussar. With that goal, the Bulldogs got the push they needed, and merely six minutes later, senior Paige Dusek evened the score with her second goal of the season.
“We battled for each other, created some good chances, dealt with the pressure and the performance from our team was fantastic,” Horner said.
The game ended with a tie in a double overtime. Drake goalkeeper Andrea Swanson left the field with nine saves, having pulled down three alone during overtime. The saves were a game-high for the junior.
“The coaches put us in a lot of game-like situations,” Swanson said. “You just have to stay sharp for 90 minutes.”
Their second game on Sunday was against UC Davis (2-1-0). Despite a slow start, the Bulldogs responded at half time and improved significantly as the game continued.
In the 83rd minute, Dusek struck again, this time in the right of the net. Less than three-and-a-half minutes later, she scored with the help of senior Megan Fisher.
“I think it comes a lot just from our team, the team effort, the energy on the field,” Dusek said. “Being in the right place at the right time definitely helps.”
Unfortunately, those two stellar shots weren’t enough to push Drake past the Aggie offense, with the game ending in a 3-2 decision.
“In order to grow from this weekend, we need our core players to take care of the ball so we can get more numbers into the attack,” Horner said. “Also, we have to take pressure off of our goalkeeper by keeping play in front of us and constantly organizing as the ball moves.”
After Sunday’s game, Dusek and Fisher were named to the all-tournament squad with Dusek taking the title of Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week.
Tomorrow, the Bulldogs take on Wyoming at 7 p.m. at home, followed by Green Bay at 1 p.m. this Sunday.