After winning the opening game of the 2016 season, the Loras women’s soccer team faced a tough schedule of four games in eight days in their second week of the season.
The Duhawks lost their first match of the season Tuesday, losing 2-1 to
No. 21-ranked Augustana.
But Loras won its first four matches, including a match against a Wheaton team that had not lost to the Duhawks since 2010.
In the Wheaton contest, the Duhawks came out in the first half and had their share of chances, but could not break the dead lock.
The start of the second half saw a similar situation, but the Duhawks got a stroke of luck. Junior Megan Brant send a high shot toward the goal from 35 yards out, and from the Wheaton goalie misread the kick, allowing Brant’s kick to score the first goal of the game. This was followed up just minutes later with a fantastic right-footed shot for junior Maura Walsh, as the Wheaton goalie saw the ball once again fly over her head and into the back of the net.
This 2-0 win over a strong Wheaton side saw the ladies head into the upcoming weekend’s double-header full of confidence.
On Saturday, Loras faced St. Olaf in their first game of the weekend. It was a hard-fought game that saw Saint Olaf edge the shots on goal count 15-13. It was Loras that had the final shot that mattered in the final minute of double overtime. Junior Gretchen Schutz took the corner kick that proved to be the final play of the game when junior Stephanie Harpenau flicked the ball into a dangerous area where junior Lauren Bolnius found herself open to tuck the ball home and seal the win for the Duhawks.
On Sunday, the Duhawks faced St. Scholastica, who had been defeated in their Saturday game and were hoping to upset Loras to get a win for the weekend. Having played 110 minutes of soccer due to the overtime win on Saturday, the Duhawks did not seem to be affected and came away with their second win of the weekend and a trophy with a 2-1 win in regular time. St. Scholastica had a penalty in the dying moments of the match that saw the impressive undefeated Loras defense beaten for the first time this season, ending the no-goal streak of over 378 minutes.
In his first year as head coach, Matt Pucci had much to say after the weekend’s success.
“We have jumped out to a great start, mainly due to the experience we have returning in the roster. The starting lineup has consisted of nine juniors and seniors all of which have played important roles for us for the last few years. Additionally, they have helped the freshmen and newcomers transition to college and help make the team complete. Obviously we are excited about our start, but we have to keep in mind it is only September. It does not get any easier as we head to Rock Island tomorrow to play another 2015 NCAA Tournament team, Augustana. I am very comfortable with the depth of our team and know utilizing our whole bench will help as the game goes on as it will be our third game in four days.”
The Duhawks are 4-0 on the season, having only given up one goal. After their matchup with Augustana on Tuesday, Loras will face UW-Oshkosh at home tonight. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.