SPOKANE, Wash. – A goal six minutes and seven seconds into overtime by Seattle University dealt the Gonzaga University women’s soccer team its second-straight 1-0 loss. The Bulldogs, hosting the Redhawks Sunday at the Gonzaga Soccer Field, dropped to 5-3-0 with the setback, while Seattle improved to 4-2-0.
Gonzaga carried the play most of the afternoon and should have taken the lead 1:37 into the contest. It was senior Emma Dolcetti feverish pressure of the Redhawk defense - who was trying to play the ball out of the back - that helped her win the ball just outside their 18-yard box. Dolcetti found an open Heather Johnson to her right, but Johnson’s shot sliced wide right.
“We should have finished that one right there,” explained fourth-year head coach Amy Edwards of the shot Johnson would love to get back. “Emma’s great pressing gave us a golden opportunity to score but right now we don’t have the maturity in front of the goal to finish.”
The Bulldogs also had two great chances late in the second half, both created by their trademark long throw-ins. The throw-in landed at the feet of Sila Tuiafea who was right in front of goal. Her quick shot was pushed away by Seattle goalkeeper Brianna Smallidge. The ball didn’t go far and Lauren Luke had an open net shot but a Redhawk defender was able to clear the ball before it crossed the goal line.
“We had plenty of chances in the second half to put them [Seattle] away,” explained Edwards, whose team had 10 shots in the final 45 minutes. “We should have buried those opportunities.”
Gonzaga finished regulation with 14 shots but only made Smallidge work to make two saves.
Seattle had seven shots in regulation, including just one in the first 45 minutes, but once overtime started it was all Redhawks.
“We were in a situation where we played Friday and Seattle didn’t and because of that we needed to finish our opportunities in regulation,” Edwards said. “We didn’t want to let a team who was fresher than us continue into overtime, but that is what happened and they had the advantage.”
Advantage they did.
And it was Seattle’s Taylor Ritzman who was the playmaker off the bench in overtime. After hitting a shot that Gonzaga goalkeeper Susan Brown had to make a nice save on four minutes into overtime, Ritzman once again found the ball at her feet on the right flank. She slotted a ball on the ground towards goal that found the sliding foot of teammate Stephanie Verdoia for the match-winner at the 96:07 mark.
The Bulldogs must move forward now as it has a tough two-match road trip ahead. Gonzaga will play both Oregon State University and the University of Oregon in the Nike Invitational. GU faces the Beavers Friday at 4 p.m. and the Ducks on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.