September 20th – After playing four tough consecutive games on the road, the Lady Duhawks were finally blessed with the opportunity to redeem themselves on their home turf “Bierie Field.” However they had to accomplish this against a top 10 ranked team in NCAA Division III, the Wheaton Thunder. The Thunder whose women also entered the Rockbowl with chips on their shoulders looked to erase their own home shutout loss against neighboring underdog Aurora University.
The Thunder and The Duhawks battle fiercely in the first 45 minutes of the game keeping up a 0-0 score going into half time. Both teams put forth stellar defensive effort forming strong walls covering each of their goals, forcing the ball off the field. However in the second half, the truth of the game began to unravel as the Duhawk’s wall began to crumble and mistakes began to cost them.
After the ball was thrown in bounds, Anna Burnridge of Wheaton seized possession of it making her way into the penalty box, maneuvering Shelby Perkins off balance cutting through the defensive barrier. Molly Stanfa makes a desperate dash for Burnridge to try and create a second layer for Burnridge but she was too late. Burnridge fires it, Loras’ goalie Hannah Wilson is unable to position herself in time, dives for it but couldn’t get her fingertips on it. Thunder up 1-0.
The Duhawks, shell shocked began to fight harder, this time transferring their strength from defense mode to attack mode. The Duhawks no longer forcing turnovers gained possession of the ball, rolling quickly down the field into Thunder territory however their defensive held up, keeping the ball from crossing the goal line on more than ten different occasions. Despite this, Wilson held her own at the goal, blocking ten shots herself with little assistance effectively keeping the ball from entering again.
As time wound down, the Duhawks grew more desperate and their focus went one hundred percent to offense as Wilson was summoned to assist her teammates in the central zone with under 30 seconds remaining in regulation. However the Thunder would strike mercilessly as an attempt to tie the game up backfired. The Duhawks turned over the ball to Ally Witt who powered her way through the exhausted Duhawks defense and knocks the ball into the unprotected goal to complete the 2-0 shutout.
The Duhawks dropped to 4-5 with this loss, going sub-.500 for the first time since 2007. The Duhawks in a rebuilding phase learned more about themselves seeing where they stand against nationally ranked Wheaton College and will use this knowledge to their advantage when hosting UW-Platteville at the Rockbowl on Wednesday and later upcoming conference match-ups.