Women’s Soccer Invitational
The past weekend Kerr Stadium hosted the 2014 Women’s Soccer Roanoke Invitational. The tournament featured Johns Hopkins, Franklin and Marshal, ODAC rival Lynchburg, and your Roanoke Maroons. The Maroons, 2-0 entering the tournament, were set to face a tough Franklin and Marshal squad on Saturday, followed by the #5 NCAA Division III team in the nation, Johns Hopkins, on Sunday.
The first match against Franklin and Marshal saw Roanoke in control from the opening kick. The Maroons dominated the pitch and kept up constant offensive pressure on F&M, firing five shots on goal, including one off the crossbar, during the first half. F&M struggled to get any offense going, and each time they managed to force the ball into Roanoke’s end of the field, the Maroons played stellar defense and quickly stifled the attack. F&M was held to only one shot on goal in the entire 45 minute period. However, due to solid defense on both sides and a few unlucky breaks for the Maroons, the score was tied 0-0 at the half.
The Maroons came out firing again in the second half, launching two quick shots within the first minute, forcing F&M back on their heels. Linnea Kremer (14) played a stellar second half at midfield and set up a number of the Maroons nine shots on goal in the half. Roanoke’s defense continued to shut down F&M’s attack, and held their opponent to four shots on goal, most of which were easy scoops for goalie Sarah Dvorak (00). Yet, once again, both teams held each other to zero goals, and the game went into a 10 minute, “golden goal” overtime. In “golden goal” play, the first team to score wins the game, so the pressure was on both teams to score quickly and hold the other to no shots.
Both teams amped up the defensive intensity in overtime, and the ball stayed around midfield for most of the period. Roanoke managed to get only one shot on goal and F&M never even got close to attempting a shot. After ten minutes of fast-paced back and forth, the score was still 0-0 and both teams prepared for another 10 minute “golden goal” overtime.
The second overtime was a completely different story. F&M broke through the Maroon’s defense early in the period and rifled a wide-open shot at the goal, but Dvorak was there to make an incredible diving stop that had everyone in the stands on their feet. The Maroons took advantage of the momentum shift and cranked up the offensive pressure, forcing F&M to play defense for nearly the rest of the period. Still, the Maroons failed to find the net until, with the period winding down, Ashley Barnes (2) blasted a beautifully placed, deep shot, to the top shelf of the goal, just out of the keeper’s reach, giving the Maroon’s a 1-0 victory in double overtime.
The next day, Sunday, on a rain soaked field, the Maroons began their second contest of the tournament against Johns Hopkins. The Maroons were set to have a tough match against the #5 team in the nation to begin with and, coming off a thrilling win the night before, the stage was set for a letdown game. Coming out of the gate, Hopkins showed why they were #5 in the nation. They were firing on all cylinders on both offense and defense, forcing the ball into Roanoke’s end of the pitch for nearly the entire first half. Forced to play scramble defense in the face of a dominating Hopkins offensive front, the Maroons committed a penalty leading to a 10 foot shot for a Hopkins striker. She blasted a shot and Sarah Dvorak made an incredible stop, giving the Maroons some breathing room. However, it was not to last. Just a few minutes later, a Maroon defended committed a tripping penalty in the box, setting up a Hopkins penalty kick. The referee deemed the trip intentional and issued a red card, forcing the Maroons to play with only ten players the rest of the match. Once again, Dvorak got the Maroons out of a jam by pulling off an incredible feat, blocking the penalty kick and the rebound shot. Unfortunately, the Maroons were unable to capitalize after Dvorak’s miraculous saves, and Hopkins continued to fire shot after shot. By the end of the first half, Hopkins had totaled 13 shots on goal, and the Maroons had only tallied one. Thankfully, Dvorak stopped 11 of the 13 shots to keep the score at a manageable 2-0 entering halftime.
In order to turn things around, the Maroons were going to have to come out in the second half with a different plan of attack and with the mindset that they were going to come back. Unfortunately, the second half was nearly a mirror image of the first. Hopkins got off another 13 shots on goal, Dvorak made another couple of beautiful saves, but Hopkins still found a way to get two more past her and the Maroons defense. Roanoke was once again unable to find the net, and the final score was 4-0. This may have simply been the result of Hopkins being the better team, or maybe the expended all of their energy in Saturday’s thriller.
Whatever the case may be, the Maroons are bound to come into their next home game, against ODAC rival Washington and Lee, with a chip on their shoulder, ready to give it their all. Be sure to come out and support them at Kerr stadium on September 17 at 7:00PM for what’s sure to be an exciting game.