Women’s Soccer On A Roll
Radford University Women’s Soccer concluded the non-conference portion of their 2012 schedule on Friday, Sept. 7 with a 9-0 shutout victory over the Southern Virginia University Knights.
The defending Big South Conference tournament champions came into the game with a 3-2 record on the season, as Head Coach Ben Sohrabi’s squad looked to extend their winning streak to three games with a win over the Knights. Senior forward/midfielder Mary Wiley and junior forward Julie Ruh’e made sure the Highlanders got off to a terrific start just four minutes into the match when they throttled past SVU’s defensive line, allowing Wiley to score her first goal of the season off of an assist from Ruh`e. Wiley’s first blood goal put the Highs in prime position to dominate the rest of the match.
Eleven minutes later, Ruh’e and junior defender/midfielder Rachel Conway combined on a pair of breakaways, allowing Ruh’e to score consecutive goals against SVU goalkeeper Mackenzie Lundquist in the 15th minute. Officially, Ruh’e scored two goals in just 22 seconds to put the Highs up 3-0 against the Knights that appeared dazed and outmatched for most of the night.
The offensive barrage by RU didn’t stop there. Six RU players would go on to score their first goal of the season against SVU. RU goalkeepers, junior Lauren Markey and freshman Sarah Davidow, only had to defend one shot-on-goal from SVU the entire night.
“This was a game where we wanted to get everyone some playing time,” Sohrabi said. “We wanted to see where all of our players were as individuals. I think defensively, we all played pretty well. Attacking wise, it was great to see that we spread the scoring around. Anytime you want to have success in your conference season, you can’t just have one or two players scoring. I think you have to have others helping out, and I think that’ll be something that carries over.”
After 45 minutes of play, the Highs ended the first half with a commanding 6-0 lead. All of the team’s starters exited the game by the time the second half began, and many new players who only figure to see minimal playing time in a conference, got their shot to prove just how effective they can be when given the chance to shine. Freshman defender Kim Harkins and sophomore defender Melissa Vogel scored on consecutive goals to start the second half in the 56th and 67th minutes; both goals were the first of the young RU stars’ collegiate careers.
“It was really exciting to get my first goal,” Vogel explained.
“It felt like all of my hard work up to this point has paid off. I was a little nervous at first, but playing with everyone else made me more comfortable. We moved the ball well all night, and it just felt very natural.”
On a night where RU dominated from the outset, there was really only one dark spot for the Highlanders. Junior goalkeeper Lexy Eckerle, making the first start of her career for RU, went down in the first minute after being challenged in the box. Eckerle was seen holding her ankle, and was escorted off the field by a trainer before being replaced by Markey. Eckerle’s status for the next few weeks remains uncertain.
With the game firmly in hand, RU let off the throttle for the rest of the match until sophomore defender Caitlin Kick delivered the exclamation point with an unassisted header goal in the 89th minute. The final whistle blew shortly afterward, and RU improved to 4-2-0 on the season, while the Knights dropped to 0-3-0.
The Highlanders’ next contest will come at home against conference rival High Point University on Sept. 20, in a match scheduled to kick off at 7 pm.
“I think we’re in decent shape for where we need to be,” Sohrabi said. “I’m glad we’ve got about twelve days to get ready for the next match, and I hope we are ready to take on High Point.”
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