The women’s soccer team has had a great start to the 2016 season. The first 10 days saw the girls undefeated after four games with just one goal against. This near-perfect record was one that topped almost any other team in the country. However, a small dip in form and some tough opponents that came next saw the team suffer two consecutive losses to Oshkosh and the nationally ranked Augustana.
The Duhawks bounced back, however, with a very convincing 4-0 win on the road over Nebraska Wesleyan to put them at 5-2 on the season and 1- 0 in conference play.
Junior Gretchen Shutz has been instrumental in the Loras side with her set piece plays and recent goal scoring form.
“I think in all honesty, we have been playing really well together and connecting plays, but we have been playing ranked teams who are very good as well, so every game has been of high intensity and competition,” she said.
Next, Loras played an in-region game against the nationally ranked Whitewater team that was on a run of eight straight wins and 9-1 record. This was sure to be one of the Duhawks’ toughest opponents they would face all year.
With the ladies now 5 -3 on the season and 1-3 in the last four games, one would assume that they have seen a major dip in form and may be struggling a little as a team. However, by watching the games and checking the statistics of the three losses the Duhawks have suffered, they have had the run of play and outshot their opponents in each loss. Although these are losses on the current season record, Coach Pucci can take some positives knowing they are having the run of play against some nationally ranked opponents.
In the game against Whitewater, the Warhawks came out flying and hit the crossbar with an attempt in the fifth minute. Continued pressure from the Warhawks’ side saw them break the Loras defense down and beat goalkeeper Maria Siebels in the seventh minute for the first goal of the game. It was just three minutes later that the Whitewater side struck again and the game was at 2-0. It looked like the next 80 minutes of play were going to be rough. There were a few chances to close the half, but the Duhawks managed to figure out their marks defensively and kept the game at 2-0 going into the half.
The second half was not the same story as the first, and Loras had an opportunity in the very first minute, but no one could get on the end of Schutz’s corner kick. Nevertheless, eight minutes after the restart the Duhawks were on the scoreboard thanks to a sensational 30-yard freekick from Schutz.
The deficit was now at just one goal, and Duhawks were having the run of play and putting tremendous pressure on the Whitewater side, stopping them from creating as many chances as they saw in the first half. In the 71st minute the Duhawks were rewarded for their continuous high pressure and it was once again Schutz from around 25 yards out that beat the Whitewater goalie to tie the game at 2-2.
Unfortunately for Loras, their momentum was halted when senior Maddie Avery was caught in an off the ball incident with a Whitewater player and she was shown a straight red for her actions. Shortly after this, the Warhawks took full advantage of the red card and reclaimed their lead in the 86th minute, which was enough to seal the win.
The Duhawks were 5-3 on the season entering their match against the University of Dubuque on Wednesday. Next, Loras will face Central College at home on Saturday, Oct. 8.