PHILADELPHIA, PA. 10/11/2015 – The La Salle Explorers got a goal from forward Madison Bower just over two minutes before halftime that proved to be the game winner in women’s soccer at Saint Joseph’s Sweeney Field. The Explorers came away with a 3 – 1 victory in an Atlantic 10 and city game.
“It’s always such a rivalry game no matter how good we are or bad we are during a season,” said La Salle Coach Paul Royal. “This is such a tough game for each team. We knew it would be a tough game. Our goal was to close the game out, and it put a lot of confidence in our team who has been struggling a bit. This is a lot of momentum moving forward.”
The opening score for the Explorers came at the 22:09 mark of the opening half on an unassisted goal by forward Marykate Bateman, her third of the season. Later in the half La Salle was putting pressure on the Saint Joe’s defense with 3 shots on Hawk goal keeper Allison Ebling. She was able to make the first two saves, but Mower would get a chip shot into the right side of the net. The goal in the 43rd minute was unassisted to make the score 2 – 0. It was a very important score for the team.:
“It’s that kind of momentum we need not just for this game, but for the rest of the season,” Royal said. ”
The Hawks showed resiliency coming right back after halftime with a goal by midfielder Emily Gingrich just over three minutes into the half. The goal was the seventh of the year for Gingrich, assisted by Shannon Westhead, and seemed to energize the hosts.
“We talk about who we are and playing how we can play,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Jess Mannella. “We did that, but could not come up with the win.”
However in the 62nd minute forward Kristen Haugstad took the ball up the right side and crossed a pass into the middle where Explorers midfielder Clarissa Kirsch-Downs shot through traffic at the top of the box for the decisive goal of the game.
“They (Saint Joe’s) were pumping at us, but it shows a lot of character on our team,” Royal said “We were persevering and fighting through. It was outstanding for Clarissa (Kirsch-Downs) to make that run and commit. It was a great finish, and it gave us that extra boost of confidence to close the game out.”
Still, Saint Joe’s had chances getting three quality shots in the last 10 minutes, but could not get the ball past La Salle goal keeper Katie Getzinger, who made 7 saves in the game.
“We kept fighting and had that chance at the end,” Mannella said.
“What they (La Salle) are good at is being physical. They have a high work rate. We created a lot of chances despite that.”
The Explorers improve to 5-6-2 overall and even their conference record at 2-2. The Hawks are 7-6-0 on the season, but are 1-3 in the Atlantic 10. SJU will travel to Richmond for their next game before returning home for a Sunday game with Duquesne.
Written By: Glenn Papazian