Oct. 9, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa. – In its final road match of the regular season, the University of Cincinnati women’s soccer team fell to Villanova University 1-0 Sunday afternoon at West Campus Soccer Complex.
"We've hit a slump and its not due to a lack of effort and preparation. We just need to rise to the occasion," said Michelle Salmon, UC women's soccer head coach. "One thing I do know is that you can't count out a Bearcat."
In the fifth minute of the match, VU senior forward Megan Verdeur served a high pass to junior forward Heidi Sabatura near the 6-yard line. Sabatura, who appeared off-side, headed the ball past UC freshman goalkeeper Kristina Utley (Castro Valley, Calif./Castro Valley) to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead.
It was all the offense Villanova needed as Cincinnati was unable to generate a goal off its aggressive attack.
Cincinnati (5-7-4, 1-5-2 BIG EAST) had a great chance to tie the score early in the match after a Villanova handball in the box set up a penalty kick in the 14th minute for UC senior forward Emily Hebbeler (Park Hills, Ky./Notre Dame Academy).
Hebbeler’s shot to the right corner of the goal was saved by VU sophomore goalkeeper Jami Kranich.
Cincinnati had another excellent opportunity to tie the score in the 59th minute after three different Bearcats had clean shot attempts, including senior defender Logan Ballinger’s (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) shot from the left side of the box that hit off the cross bar.
The Bearcats were relentless to tie the score in the final 20 minute of the match, putting constant pressure on the VU defense.
In the 75th minute, senior defender Kelli Pawelko (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) hit a beautiful, high cross to Ballinger just in front of the left side of the goal; however, Ballinger’s header went just wide left.
Two minutes later, sophomore forward Jazmine Rhodes (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic) received a long serve from freshman midfielder Christi Howard (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) on the right corner of the box. Her left-footed shot was again saved.
Both of UC’s back-to-back corner kicks in the 81st minute from the left side were successfully defended by VU.
The Wildcats held the advantage in shot attempts, 15-7, while Cincinnati took five corner kicks compared to VU’s three.
Ballinger led the Bearcats with five shot attempts, followed by Rhodes, who took two shots.
Utley finished the match with three saves, while her counterpart, Kranich, recorded six saves.
The Bearcats, who have three remaining matches in the regular season at Gettler Stadium, will take on the Seton Hall University Pirates Friday at 7 p.m.
"After seeing how we've trained since August, I know our team will rise to the occasion in big moments, beginning with Friday night," Salmon said.