In a hard-fought, evenly matched contest, The San Francisco Dons narrowly defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders 1-0 last Friday night at Negoesco Stadium.
A long distance strike from sophomore forward Mackenzie Krieser found the back of the net in the 75th minute, and the Dons held on to secure the win and complete their third consecutive shutout at home. Krieser sent the ball off her left foot into the corner of the goal, giving the Dons the elusive go-ahead goal that they had been searching for. The intensity picked up in the last few minutes, as final efforts to score an equalizer resulted in a yellow card for Valparaiso.
“You just gotta keep working,” Krieser said.
“Our coach always tells us that we gotta keep doing the right thing, and if we keep our effort strong it’ll pay off.”
The first half of the match saw no goals from either team, and Valparaiso lead San Francisco with six shots on goal, compared to two for the Dons. The ball was evenly controlled in the early stages of the match, as possession remained around 50 percent for both teams.
In the second half, USF picked up the pressure and began testing Valparaiso goalkeeper Kristen Manski with more frequency. However, it looked as if the two teams were headed towards a 0-0 tie for much of the final 45 minutes, before Krieser’s improbable goal propelled the Dons to victory. Krieser led the team with four shots, and sophomore midfielder Abigail Phillips, the only other Don to take a shot, added one attempt on goal. Valparaiso finished with 11 shots on goal to San Francisco’s five, but they were unable to capitalize thanks to top-notch goalkeeping from sophomore Emily Murzinski.
With freshman sensation Madalyn Shiffel out due to a concussion, San Francisco relied on Murzinski to take over the goalkeeping duties. Shiffel’s 62 saves ranked seventh in the country coming into Friday’s match, but Murzinski excelled in her place, recording four saves and holding the Crusaders without a goal for the entire night. The Dons’ impressive defensive efforts proved to be just enough for them to escape with the victory.
“With our starting keeper out with a concussion, we had to step up our defense for Emily’s first match today, and she was the star of the night for us,” Krieser said.
“She did really well in the nets, and we just wanted to keep the defense locked down and solid.”
San Francisco’s win gave them a 5-3-3 record on the season, and allowed them to remain unbeaten at Negoesco Stadium.
The Dons’ next game comes next Saturday against San Diego. The afternoon 1pm home match will be a WCC Represent game. Looking the begin WCC conference play on a high note, USF heads into the next stretch of the season with reason to be excited.
“We’ve boosted our record to multiple games over the .500 mark, so that definitely gives us confidence for WCC play,” Krieser said.
“We just need to keep playing like we did tonight and we’ll give ourselves a chance to win a lot of games.”
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