NORFOLK, Va. - The Old Dominion Lady Monarchs scored five times in the second half to break open a match that had been tied at halftime, and went on to defeat the VMI Keydets 6-1 in women's soccer action Sunday in Norfolk, Va.
After a Christelle Ndongo goal in the 36th minute had sent the game into halftime tied, ODU (2-4) came out of the intermission strongly. Amber Cook put the Monarchs in front for good just 87 seconds into the half, and would go on to add two goals in the 59th minute for a hat trick. Cook added an assist as well, while her teammates chipped in a pair of additional scores, coming in the 57th and 79th minutes, to account for the final margin.
The Lady Monarchs outshot VMI (1-3) 28-4 Sunday, but it was VMI who attempted the first shot, as Liz Affronti tested ODU keeper Brianna Alvarado in the 8th minute. Alvarado was up to the task, and ODU counterattacked by earning a 10th minute corner. Off that play, Devin Dougherty got free for a header, but a Keydet defender cut in behind keeper Mackenzie Harrmann and made a team save, keeping the match scoreless.
Harrmann would make her first save of the match in the 19th minute, but could not stop Dougherty’s try at 23:16, a shot from the VMI goalkeeper’s right that went over Harrmann’s head and into the net, putting the home team up, 1-0.
The Lady Monarchs continued to test the VMI defense over the next several minutes, but the Keydets kept ODU from getting any shots on goal. VMI then countered in the 36th minute. Affronti found Ndongo with a long pass and the senior took advantage, beating Alvarado with a shot to the right side of the goal. It was Ndongo’s first goal of the season, and knotted the matchup, 1-1. ODU had four shots in the remainder of the opening half, but Harrmann stopped both that were on net to send the contest to halftime tied.
The home team came out very well in the second half, and in fact, scored on the opening shot just 87 seconds in. Caroline Survill nailed a free kick into the box, which Cook settled and hammered past Harrmann to put ODU up, 2-1.
The Lady Monarchs would continue to fire shots at Harrmann, as they tried 18 total in the second half. The lead was pushed to 3-1 in the 57th minute, when Cook tallied an assist on Jessie Klamut’s goal. Cook then increased the margin to three, 4-1, with her second goal, which came at 58:15 off an Ashlee Coutu feed. The day’s top scorer then completed the hat trick 33 seconds later, finding the back of the net top shelf off a Taylor Mertz cross to make it ODU 5, VMI 1.
Harrmann attempted to turn the tide with a save in the 62nd minute, stopping Cook’s effort for a fourth goal, but Coach Bryan Williams went to his bench some four minutes later, putting Kirsten Hancock in goal to finish the contest. The change marked Hancock’s first appearance of the young season.
ODU also made a goalie change in the 66th minute, pulling Alvarado, and the pace of the game appeared to slow at that point. Neither team had another shot on goal until the 74th minute, when Hancock stopped Aubrie Ewell. It was the first career save against a Division I foe for the sophomore, as her only action as a true freshman came against Southern Virginia.
The home team capped the scoring in the 79th minute, as Taylor Smith scored off a cross to account for the final margin.
ODU held a 28-4 edge in shots on the day, as well as a 13-2 edge in tries on goal. Harrmann led all goalies with six saves, while Hancock and Alvarado were each credited with one stop apiece.
VMI women’s soccer will return to action Friday, as the Keydets face Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md. Game time is set for 7 p.m.