SPOKANE, Wash. – An offensive explosion Sunday at the Gonzaga Soccer Field helped the Gonzaga University women’s soccer team halt a four-match losing streak. The Bulldogs, having scored just two goals in four matches, notched three Sunday to defeat visiting University of Nevada 3-0.
A 14-day layoff between matches seemed to spark the Bulldogs, but Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards had to hold her breath to see if such a long break was as beneficial as she thought it was.
“Having such a big break could have gone either way for us,” explained Edwards after the match. “We could have really been slow, sluggish and not very sharp or we could come out hungry for just playing and having that great mentality. You never know as a coach which way it is going to go. I am obviously happy to see it go the right way for us.”
The fourth-year coach was able to exhale 24 minutes into the match when sophomore Kasey Rubosky scored what would become the game-winning goal.
Rubosky’s third goal of the season was a beautiful one. Junior Emily Eckmann, holding the ball on the left flank, played a perfectly timed ball into the middle of the goal box to Rubosky. She took a needed touch to her left - which allowed her to get by a defender - and slotted a left footed shot deep into the bottom right of the goal.
“The last two weeks were critical for Kasey,” stated Edwards. “She became a more confident player through the training sessions and you saw that today in her brilliant finish.”
Gonzaga had multiple chances in the first half to add onto the lead, but, despite holding a 13-4 advantage in shots, held only the 1-0 advantage at halftime.
Senior Emma Dolcetti and freshman Heather Johnson changed that in the second half.
Dolcetti gave Gonzaga the 2-0 lead at the 72:38 mark. Sophomore Ali Ohashi found Zag defender Katey Pennington streaking down the left flank. Pennington muscled her way to the end line and lifted a cross into the box that found the head of Dolcetti. The goal was Dolcetti’s third of the season and second coming off a header.
A little over seven minutes later Johnson tacked on the Bulldogs third and final goal of the afternoon when she scored on an 18-yard shot. It was Johnson’s second goal of the season and first since scoring the game-winning goal over Boise State, Aug. 26.
“Our goal the last two weeks was to create more in the attack. We really worked with our attackers on their mobility, on their runs, on getting off crosses and shots and taking touches forward. You really saw that today,” explained Edwards of her team who scored 3-plus goals in a contest for the third time this season.
Bulldog goalkeeper Susan Brown made three saves to secure her third shutout of the season and 10th career at GU.
Gonzaga now focuses its attention on league play. The Zags open the always-tough West Coast Conference Sunday when it hosts Saint Mary’s College at 1 p.m.
“We gained confidence today and we needed that going into conference,” Edwards said. “Every game in conference is a battle and we were hoping to gain that confidence today and carry it into league play and I think we have.”