STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Entering the weekend at 2-4 on the season, the Bulldogs fell on the road to the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks on Friday night. Drake turned it around on Sunday afternoon in a shootout against the Saint Louis University Billiken.
Despite taking five shots on goal and six corner kicks in the match, Drake still came up short against Omaha.
Maverick Chelsi Rohloff scored twice in the match, once just before halftime and once just after, to give her team a definitive 2-0 lead.
Bulldog Kayla Armstrong scored her second goal of the season off an assist from defender Sarah Grace Nicholson to bring the match to within one.
However, that goal didn’t come until the 87th minute and didn’t leave enough time for Drake to mount a comeback.
“(Losing to Omaha) had been rough, it’s kind of hard to hold your head up high,” senior Rhian Pritchard said.
Two days later in Saint Louis, the Bulldogs managed to fire off 11 shots, but their mark was doubled by the Billiken’s 22. SLU also had 11 shots on goal throughout the match, five more than Drake’s six.
Still, games are not won and lost by shots, but instead by turning those shots into goals, and that’s exactly what the Bulldogs did on Sunday.
Sophomore Haley Morris started the match in goal for the Bulldogs, her third career start and first of 2015.
Morris held off the Billiken onslaught for much of the first half, made four saves and allowed just one goal late in the period.
SLU also made a substitution at halftime, replacing senior goalkeeper Hanna Benben with sophomore Tristin Stuteville, which may have turned out to be a destructive mistake for the Billiken.
Before that error could’ve been realized however, SLU’s Livi Logan-Wood scored her team- leading fifth goal of the season in the 54th minute off of a cross to give the Billiken a 2-0 lead at home.
But that’s when everything changed, as Drake would be in the lead just over 10 minutes later.
Junior Rebecca Rodgers picked up her third goal of the season on Armstrong’s third assist. Freshman Linda Fiorito tied the match with her first goal of 2015 off of a failed clearance from SLU in the 61st minute.
“I think we did a really good job of creating chances,” Horner said.
Three minutes later, sophomore Kasey Hurt took a corner kick for Drake, finding freshman Alyssa Brand for the header to give the Bulldogs a lead.
Less than 20 minutes later Morris kept Drake on top with a clutch save on a penalty kick to hold the score at 3-2.
“Any time a goalie saves a penalty kick it kind of changes the momentum of the game,” head coach Lindsey Horner said. “It’s a big confidence builder.”
In the 84th minute Rodgers would pick up her second point of the day when she crossed the ball in to Pritchard who put the ball in the back of the net and gave Drake a two-goal lead.
“It’s always good to get a few saves, but it was just a good team effort to fight back from down 2-0.”
SLU would score again in the 89th minute on a blast from outside the box from junior forward Kirsten Clemens, but that wouldn’t be enough and Drake walked away with its third win of the season.
“After SLU we were really happy, really excited,” Pritchard said. “We definitely celebrated that.”
The Bulldogs will return home this week, facing off with instate rivals Iowa State on Sunday and then taking on Creighton two days later, both of whom are .500 or better thus far in the season. Both matches will take place at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.
“It’ll be important for us in our next three games when we’re on top and we have momentum that we have to score goals,” Horner said. “We have to have something to show for our possession and our chances.”