SPOKANE, Wash. – The combination of Heather Johnson and Karley Baggerly spelled success once again for the Gonzaga University women’s soccer team as the duo hooked up to score the lone goal in the Bulldogs 1-0 West Coast Conference victory over visiting University of San Francisco Thursday afternoon at the Gonzaga Soccer Field.
The win was the second-straight in league play and the first conference victory at home for the Zags. The shutout also moved the Bulldogs into a tie for sixth in the WCC at 3-5 overall and tied the school record for most wins in a WCC season.
“It was huge for us to get these two back-to-back wins,” explained Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards, whose team defeated Saint Mary’s 2-1 in overtime Sunday. “It certainly was special to get a win at home in our third conference game here and it now provides great momentum going into our game against Santa Clara, who is going to be an incredible opponent Saturday on Senior Day.”
The duo of Johnson and Baggerly combined for a goal for the second-straight match; this time finding the back of the net just 6:18 into the contest.
Baggerly used her speed to get to the end line of the right flank and crossed the ball into the box to the waiting Johnson. The midfielder was able to control the ball, take a touch, and place a shot into the right corner of the goal.
In the Zags 2-1 win at Saint Mary’s last Sunday, Baggerly again was the one to place a perfect ball to Johnson for the match-tying goal in the 61st minute.
“Heather and Karley combined together well on some goals recently,” stated Edwards of her two leading playmakers. “With Heather’s strength and Karley’s pace they both are very dangerous and hard to handle; and you saw that again today.”
It’s the fourth time in seven matches Gonzaga (7-10-1 overall) has scored a goal before seven minutes had ticked off the clock and the third time in the last four matches. And if you ask Edwards, it is by design.
“I think it is certainly our goal,” Edwards said of her team wanting to score early. “We want to press teams from the whistle. We have been able to take a few chances right from the start by throwing a few numbers forward and have capitalized on those opportunities early; today was another example of our team executing that.”
Gonzaga defense, along with sophomore goalkeeper Christie Tombari, earned their first shutout win in league play and sixth overall on the year. Tombari made four saves, while the defense shut down the Dons, who threw everything - including keeper Madalyn Schiffel - into the offensive mix in the final 10 minutes.
San Francisco’s (6-9-4, 1-5-2 WCC) best chance down the stretch was by Katherine Woodrum. The midfielder found herself wide open in the 84th minute but her shot luckily sailed high over the goal.
The Bulldogs now close out the season hosting the No. 8 Broncos Saturday at 1 p.m. Santa Clara, who has scored 20 goals combined in their last three matches, first plays No. 12 University of Portland tonight.
“Santa Clara has got a three-headed monster up front and they are going to be difficult to maintain,” stated Edwards of the Broncos three forwards who have combined for 33 of SCU’s 50 goals. “Our goal will be to attack them, get involved and be dangerous in our attacking half. We will battle them with things we do well and that is pressing.”