McDonald’s overtime goal lifts women’s soccer over California: Maggie McDonald’s two scores lead Huskies’ offense past Cal

Evin Hartsock, Managing Editor

     In the game of soccer, it’s not uncommon for the team who wins the possession battle to win the game, no matter how close the score. This was the case for the Bloomsburg University Women’s soccer team as their domination of the ball paved the way for the thrilling 3-2 overtime win against California of PA on Saturday at Steph Pettit Stadium.

     After struggling to gain possession of the ball in the opening minutes, the Huskies quickly got into a rhythm in the passing game, finding their stride offensively.

     BU’s crisp passes through the midfield allowed them to control the pace of play and open up the field, creating runs on both the perimeter and in the middle. That resulted in multiple offensive opportunities. BU applied pressure to Cal’s goalie from crosses into the box and inside runs. The Huskies outshot the Vulcans 8-1 in the opening half.

     Despite the Huskies’ domination of the ball and continuous offensive pressure, the Cal defense handled it quite well as Vulcans’ goalkeeper Michaela Colon came up with five saves in the first 45 minutes. Cal quickly countered off Colon’s saves, as the Vulcans made multiple runs off BU’s failed shots in the first half. While Cal stormed downfield, they could not construct a cohesive attack and BU defenders snuffed out the problem without much difficulty.

     Although Cal did play formidable defense early on, BU’s offensive attacks finally broke it down late in the first half, as freshman forward Sam Rodkey chipped a ball into the box in the 42’nd minute of the match. Freshman Christina Podpora played the ball off her head to the other side of the box, splitting defenders and finding the feet of freshman Maggie McDonald, who buried the ball in the back of the net for her first of the day.
The Huskies came out after the half with the same offensive intensity that they boasted in the first 45 minutes Looking to add to their 1-0 lead, the passing game continued to work well for BU in the second half as they quickly moved the ball up the field.

     Just 1:32 into the second half, senior midfielder Rachel Yenny split Cal defenders with a through ball that found the feet of freshman midfielder Mackenzie Gebhardt. Gebhardt then dribbled past the Cal goalkeeper and buried a shot in the open net for her third score of the year.

     With Bloomsburg up 2-0, momentum began to swing in Cal’s favor. The Vulcans strung together some good passes, finding an offensive rhythm that they lacked earlier in the match. With a quick strike downfield, and a few defensive errors from the Huskies, Cal’s Carilyn Paiserb got the ball deflected her way in BU’s box with an empty net in front of her.

     Just 37 seconds after BU scored, Cal answered with a goal of their own to cut the BU lead down 2-1.

     After the Cal goal, the Vulcans completed some more passes and moved the ball into BU’s defensive third. The Huskies’ back line dealt with pressure well, until a Cal counter-attack caused some problems. Cal’s Zana Ross found teammate Brianna Bracero on a long through ball that got her past BU’s back line and one on one with Huskies’ keeper Jenna Hawkins. Bracero put the ball past Hawkins, evening up the score at 2-2 just three minutes after Cal’s first call.

     The intensity of the match stepped up with the score even as play from both sides began to become more physical. A combined nine fouls were called between both teams as Cal and BU players found themselves on the ground after body checks and shoves from the opponent.

     This physical play continued throughout the second half as both teams made runs at each other’s goals, both coming out empty-handed. Late in the second half, BU returned to their first-half form and put some offensive pressure on Cal, keeping the ball around the Vulcans’ goal. Cal’s defense fended off the late attack, forcing the match to go to overtime.

     In the closing minutes of overtime, BU freshman defender Natalie Holmes got the ball to the feet of Rachel Yenney. Yenny then tried to cross a ball towards the far-post of Cal’s goal, which was deflected towards the feet of Maggie McDonald. McDonald ripped the ball into the net for her second of the day and the game-winner.

    The Huskies won their third straight conference game on Wednesday with a 1-0 final score over Lock Haven. Bloomsburg’s lone goal came in the 71’ minute as Natalie Holmes and Cristina Podpora found Megan Callan’s feet for her first goal of the year. The Huskies are back in action on Saturday as they hit the road to take on Gannon.

 

 

 

BU junior Allie Barber battles a California defender.