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Mace & Crown | December 15, 2017

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Womens Soccer beats GMU 3-1

Womens Soccer beats GMU 3-1

By Matt O’Brien
Sports Editor

Old Dominion Women’s soccer set out to snap a five-game losing streak on Friday night. The Monarchs (2-6-0) earned a much needed 3-1 victory on the heels of a hat-trick by leading scorer Iris Achterhof. Achterhof’s three goals powered the Old Dominion offense past the George Mason Patriots (4-4-0).

“We are a little tired. We have been on the road and we have played some very big programs. It’s a good experience for our team, it was great to come home and get a win in front of the fans,” said Head Coach Angie Hind.

To the Monarchs’ credit, three of the five teams in their five-game slide were ranked In the top 25. One loss came at the hands of the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers. After arguably their most challenging stretches of the season, the lady Monarchs relished some home field advantage.

“This is the field we practice on every day that makes a big difference. We needed to get a little confidence boost it’s great to find the back of net again and hopefully this carries in to the next few weeks,” Hind said.

Neither team was able to get off to a good start in the first half. ODU put up just two shots on goal in the first half. George Mason was able to generate some pressure towards the end of the half, with five shots on goal and two late corner kicks. Despite the early pressure the Lady Monarchs’ defense held up. ODU goalkeeper Erin Kinz made three key saves to keep the score level at half.

“I liked the way we controlled the ball we just couldn’t get anything concise. Erin certainly bailed us out a few times,” Hind said.

Hind and her team made some changes to their offensive game plan. The Lady Monarchs had to find a way to get the ball in the box.

“We focused on stretching their defense a little wider so we had more space to play the ball through,” Hind said.

Eight minutes into the second half they did just that and executed a perfect through ball at the feet of midfielder Kira Laurento. Laurento was able to find Achterhof as she got behind the defense and chipped the ball over a sliding Mason goalkeeper giving the Monarchs a 1-0 lead

The Lady Monarch offense had struggled as of late. They were only able to score two goals in their last six games. Achterhof’s success came as no surprise as she is the team’s leading scorer and has already racked up six goals this season.

“She did great. She can create a lot of space for herself and she knows where to be at the right time. She is one of the best finishers on this team and we are just really lucky to have her,” Laurento said.

The Netherlands native was not done, on her way to her second hat-trick of the season. She wasted little time, less than four minutes later Laurento found Achterhof again on a cross to the middle of the box giving the lady Monarchs a comfortable 2-0 lead.

In the 79th minute however, the Patriot offense finally capitalized on one of their many opportunities of the night. Mason forward Emma star launched a ball from just about 25 yards out that hit the post and found the back of the net.

The Patriots comeback effort was short lived. Just five minutes after the deficit was cut, Achterhof struck again. Achterhof’s move past a defender secured her final goal just inside the box, she fired a ball that found the upper right hand corner of the net. Her third and final goal secured the win for the Lady Monarchs.

In the second win of the season, the Lady Monarchs put up their largest margin of victory. This comes despite being outshot 11 to 8 and surrendering five corner kicks.

“This gives us a lot of momentum going in to conference play. We played some tough teams to prepare us for this and it helped us up the intensity and our abilities,” Laurento said.

The first test of in conference play will come on September 25 when the lady Monarchs take on Louisiana Tech on the road.