That’s the way it goes sometimes. In a game that opened up West Coast Conference (WCC) play for the Dons, USF was unable to walk away with a win, falling 1-0 to the St. Mary’s Gaels in Moraga, Calif. on Oct. 5.
Starting off heavily pressured by the Gaels, the Dons (5-5-2, 0-1-0 WCC) were unable to gather a sense of rhythm, making it difficult for the tandem of junior forward Mackenzie Krieser and freshman forward Lexie Kreuger to establish any sort of connection together to attack the net. The brief moment of assault in the first half came during the 34th minute when Krieser found Krueger with just feet separating her and the goal, but she was unable to get the shot off as defenders swirled around her and cleared the ball.
The aggressive nature of the Gaels (5-7-0, 1-0-0 WCC) paid off in the 37th minute when St. Mary’s sophomore Jaime Turrentine was able to intercept a pass and dump it off to freshman Mary Fraser, who, with a couple of touches, blasted a 30-yard laser that ended up in the back of the net, putting up the Gaels up 1-0 in the first half.
With Fraser’s first goal of her collegiate career, St. Mary’s was put in the driver’s seat for the rest of the match. Maintaining the aggressive style of play that the put them in the lead, the Gaels had several chances to extend their advantage, but the defensive play of USF’s sophomore goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel kept the Dons in contention for the entire match. She helped put the team in a position where they could trust their defense enough to play less conservatively later on in the second half.
The Dons kept knocking on the door as junior midfielder Abigail Phillip’s cross in the 77th minute almost connected with Krieser, but the shot went wide and the Gaels were able to ward off the Dons’ 14 shots on goals and pick up the win in the process.
“They scored a lucky goal in the first half and we dominated the rest of the game. That’s soccer,” Head Coach Jim Millinder said to USFdons.com. “That’s probably the best 2×45 [two 45-minutes halves] we’ve played all season but that’s just the way the game worked out sometimes.”
It was a frustrating loss that came despite the exhibition of Krieser’s playmaking brilliance, but Millinder is confident things will turn around for the talented Dons team.
“Soccer’s a funny game,” he said to USFdons.com. “They kids got to keep working hard and do the right things. They’re doing the right things. At some point things will change. At some point that little round thing will roll over the line.”
The Dons won’t have to wait long for that ball to run over the line, as they will fight for their first WCC win at home tonight against No. 22 BYU at Negeosco Stadium at 7 p.m.