After a three game win streak last week, the lady Duhawks prepared themselves for the battle of Dubuque against the Spartans at The University of Dubuque. Matt Pucci, head women’s soccer coach, spoke on the team’s confidence prior to entering the match,
“We always feel good going into conference play. A tough non-conference schedule prepared us for this.”
Loras came out strong attacking Dubuque right away on the offensive. The 15th minute brought the Duhawks a couple looks on goal, but the Spartans were defensively settled enough to keep the game scoreless. The 33rd minute brought drama to the game when first-year Ryleigh O’Brien stole the ball from the Spartans keeper and placed it in the back of the net. It looked as though the Duhawks were going to get themselves a goal on a platter, but the officials overturned the goal to keep the score at zero for both teams. Both teams continued to battle out the half, but after 40 minutes, both teams remained scoreless. Coach Pucci spoke on the rivalry of these two teams,
“It’s a good rivalry we have. Good teams usually tend to play their best on the day of, and that is the case here.”
The second half brought an offensive attack from the Duhawks with sophomore Brynn Jacobi scoring in the 53rd minute. This is the confidence Loras had been striving for in the first half, and a bending top corner shot by Jacobi was just the touch of finesse they needed, putting them up one to nothing. The Spartans spirits must have been dwindling because six minutes later, senior Gretchen Schutz fired a free kick into the left corner of the goal putting the Duhawks at two nothing advantage. Holding the lead soon became the priority for Loras as they bunkered down and aimed to keep the Spartans scoreless. The 70th minute brought fourth Dubuque efforts, but the Duhawk defensive line was able to prevail and ultimately keep the Spartans scoreless. The game ended two nothing in Loras’ favor. It was a victory for the Duhawks, along with a priceless trophy of reigning victorious in the city of Dubuque.
Coach Pucci was content with the turnout for the Duhawks saying,
“I thought we came out slow, but as the game wore on, we began to dictate the pace more and more, and did very well in the second half as a team.” Coach also commented on the positive takeaways from the game, “Just starting out the conference play with a win and shutout. Not much more to ask for. Now we can focus ourselves and prepare for the next game.”
With many seniors graduating last year, the lineup on the field for the Duhawks this year is young. However, Coach Pucci has confidence in these young players, “We have some great first-years and new players that have accumulated to the team very well, and are getting quality time that they deserve and are contributing highly to our success.” The Duhawks will prepare to take on Nebraska Wesleyan this Saturday, Sept. 29.