Women’s soccer picking up right where they left off

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After finishing their 2012-2013 regular season with 14 straight wins, the Radford University women’s soccer team is undefeated again through their first four games of the season.

The group kicked off the 2013 season by playing to a 1-1 draw at Villanova on August 23.

Senior forward Sahar Aflaki scored the first goal of the contest in the 15th minute on a dish from senior forward Julie Ruh’e.

The Highlanders held off the Wildcats for the rest of the first half, but momentum switched when Villanova defender Rhea Barghash scored with an in-swinger on a corner kick less than two minutes into the second half.

Sharp defensive plays by senior goalkeeper Che’ Brown and junior midfielder Stephanie Herb prevented Villanova from scoring again as the matched ended in a 1-1 draw.

Following the match against Villanova, the team played their home opener against Towson on August 30.

They found themselves down quickly after Towson forward, Emily Banes, scored on a rebound in the 5th minute of the game.

It wasn’t until the 78th minute when Julie Ruh’e intercepted a pass in Towson’s box and was immediately tripped up. Senior midfielder Rachel Conway scored on the penalty kick to even the game at one goal a piece.

The Highlanders kept up the offensive pressure and earned another penalty kick in the 87th minute after Sahar Aflaki’s shot hit a defender’s arm. Conway again stepped up to take the penalty kick and scored the go-ahead goal as RU beat the Tigers 2-1.

From there the Highlanders traveled to Norfolk to take on an intimidating team in Old Dominion.

A defensive match all the way through, the two teams played into overtime until senior defender Sydney Golden drilled a 38-yard free kick into the top left corner of the goal and took out the Monarchs.

The victory marked the first road win against ODU in team history and also is the first time that RU has defeated Old Dominion in back-to-back seasons.

After their win over ODU, the team came back home last Friday, September 6, to take on Delaware State University.

In an all out dominant performance, six different Highlanders scored goals in their 6-0 triumph over DSU.

The first goal came eight minutes into the game when freshman forward Melanie Priestley passed the ball to sophomore forward Asyia Mitchell in the box. Mitchell blasted the shot in the far post to take the early advantage over the Hornets.

“We were just trying to prove that we were the better team tonight and get goals in early,” Mitchell said. “We couldn’t relax but we knew that we had control of the game.”

Just over two minutes later, Sahar Aflaki scored her second goal of the season after dribbling the ball into the top of the box and beating Delaware State goalkeeper Katelyn Koslosky in the far post.

In the 19th minute, Stephanie Herb received a long pass at the edge of the box from Julie Ruh’e and drilled the shot past the keeper to stretch the lead to 3-0.

Keeping the offensive onslaught going in the first half, junior midfielder Annabel Bergin scored from the edge of the box on an assist from senior midfielder Lauren Hicks, her first assist of her collegiate career.

Two freshmen kept the momentum in RU’s favor in the second half, starting with forward Britney Kendall scoring on a breakaway opportunity after an assist from Bergin.

To finish off the night, defender Maddy Bisantz, playing in her first game of her collegiate career, tallied in the 80th minute on a pass from Kendall into the center of the box.

Che’ Brown and senior goalkeeper Lauren Markey each played a half in the net without giving up a goal. The Highlanders have only given up two goals in their first four games.

“We are in tremendous shape out there with our back four and take pride in defending and not giving up goals,” said head coach Ben Sohrabi. “It’s about communication, leadership, and organization and just making sure everybody knows their job.”

The Highlanders look to keep the streak alive this Friday, September 13, when they take on Southern Virginia University at 7:00 p.m. in their final non-conference home matchup.

Sean Karoly

Second year as sports writer for The Tartan.