The Drexel University women’s soccer team reached the halfway point of Colonial Athletic Association play on a hot streak, winners of two straight and three of their last four overall. The Dragons’ last win was their ninth, the most the program has ever obtained in a single season. Despite their success to this point in the season, the team continues to look ahead to build on recent achievements. With only five games remaining in their regular-season schedule, the Dragons first hosted the Hofstra University Pride Oct. 7 and then traveled to Norfolk, Va., to play the Old Dominion University Monarchs Oct. 11. After two hard-fought, highly competitive games, Drexel emerged with a victory over Hofstra and a loss against Old Dominion.
The first half of the match against Hofstra was a defensive battle. The Pride took six total shots and put four on goal in the first half, but sophomore goalie Eve Badana was too strong, turning away all four balls she faced. The Dragons managed four shots in the half, but none of them were on target. The early going in the second half was similar to the first, with stout defenses keeping the game scoreless. It was not until the 65th minute that Drexel finally broke the tie and got on the board on a long-range goal by sophomore midfielder Alyssa Findlay. Freshman forward Gabby Dixon and senior midfielder Courtney Wylie assisted Findlay on the goal. While Drexel took a 1-0 lead, the game was far from over. Hofstra continued to fire shots at Badana, but Drexel’s star goalie stood tall, blocking all four shots on net she faced. The game was still anyone’s for the taking until the 84th minute, when Drexel was awarded a penalty kick. Wylie was selected to take the kick and did not disappoint, as she found the back of the net for her first goal of the season and effectively expelled any hope Hofstra had of making a comeback in the waning moments of the game. However, Wylie was not done for the day, as she took advantage of a Drexel free kick and notched her second goal of the day. When the final whistle blew, Drexel defeated Hofstra 3-0, and Badana recorded her ninth shutout of the season. After the game, head coach Ray Goon commented on the stellar play of his goalie and her role as the backbone of the team’s defense.
“Eve has been equally solid and consistent,” Goon said. “Knowing she is back there has allowed our team to play uninhibitedly, but by the same token, they make sure they have her back as well.”
He also acknowledged the impressive offensive play from his senior midfielder and the importance of her effort to the team.
“Court has been doing a yeoman job for us consistently all season, and that type of effort doesn’t always show up in the statistical columns,” Goon said. “To be involved in all three of our scores against Hofstra is the epitome of her work in the midfield this season.”
The win added to the record number of wins in a single season for Drexel women’s soccer and was also the team’s first win over Hofstra since 2001. After missing the CAA playoffs last year, wins over quality conference opponents like Hofstra are especially important. Goon understands the value in these wins and knows “Hofstra is a perennial playoff team, so that game was a good measuring stick for us.”
Drexel headed into its game in Norfolk against ODU on a three-game win streak and a solid 4-1-1 record in CAA play. The Monarchs, on the other hand, entered the match 2-11 overall and 0-5 in conference play. The Dragons controlled most of the action against ODU but did not take advantage of enough of their opportunities. Drexel outshot Old Dominion 17-5 in the game, with an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal. Despite these lopsided numbers, Old Dominion found a way to get on the board. They did not waste much time doing so, as they scored in the 8th minute on their first shot of the match on a goal by forward Ashlee Coutu, her team-leading fifth of the season. The score remained 1-0 through the first half, but Old Dominion hardly wasted any time extending their lead when the second half began, as senior defender Taylor Mertz scored her second goal of the season in the 47th minute. The Monarchs’ two goals would prove to be their only two shots on goal. Drexel continued to fight despite the sudden 2-0 deficit, putting eight of eleven second half shots on goal. Their persistence paid off in the 62nd minute when junior defenseman and tri-captain Sam Greenfield scored for the Dragons. While Drexel continued an onslaught of shots and corner kicks throughout the second half, the early hole was too much to overcome, and they fell to Old Dominion 2-1.
Although an upset loss like this is difficult, Drexel will need to regroup quickly to host a strong College of William & Mary (11-3, 5-0 CAA) squad Oct. 14 at Vidas Field. This matchup will be one between CAA heavyweights with William & Mary currently undefeated in conference play and Drexel riding a 13-game unbeaten streak at home. Goon acknowledged that William & Mary is a good team, but he is more focused on making sure his own team plays well.
“Like every other CAA game, William & Mary will be a tough match,” Goon said. “But it doesn’t matter what name is on front of the jersey of our opponent; we just know they are standing in our way of getting to the playoffs, and we won’t have that.”
Drexel is focused going into the final stretch of its season and looks to make a strong push into the postseason.