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SU WSOC falls to CNU in defensive battle

By ETHAN WILT

Staff Writer

@Ethan__Wilt

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SU defender Jenna Beck looks downfield to make a throw-in vs. CNU. Emma Reider photo

The Salisbury University and Christopher Newport University women’s soccer teams both came into Wednesday afternoon’s matchup with confidence, as both teams were undefeated in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) coming into the game. A defensive matchup that turned into a war of attrition, Christopher Newport edged out Salisbury 2-0.

With only nine shots on the afternoon, Salisbury (8-8, 6-1 CAC) struggled at times to get accurate shots on goal. The story for Christopher Newport (14-0-1, 7-0 CAC) was not much better in the first half either. Even though they led in shots 10-2, they found about just as much success as the Sea Gull offense. Much of this is because of the play of the Salisbury defense, as they forced Christopher Newport to take inopportune shots and did not allow for any plays to develop.

SU head coach Kwame Lloyd loved what he saw from the SU defense.

“The shots were from 30, 40 yards out, no one got behind our back line, and we stuck to our game plan. I thought our back line did a tremendous job. We just have to continue with that kind of tenacity,” Lloyd said.

Going into the half, both offenses were kept scoreless by the quality play of defense.

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Adjusting their game plan, Salisbury came out of the half with energy on offense, putting pressure on the CNU defense within the first minute of the half. Adjusting their play as well, the Captains put plenty of pressure on the Sea Gull defense in the opening minutes of the second half as well.

In the 50th minute, CNU sophomore midfielder Logan Montel found the ball off of a corner kick and shot it into the lower right corner of the net.

The Sea Gull offense continued to have limited success, with the team now down 1-0 in the game. In the 56th minute, SU senior striker Ruthie Lucas applied pressure and had gotten the ball into the Captain’s box. However, poor communication led to a missed opportunity and the ball was cleared by the CNU defense.

Not converting these opportunities was something the Sea Gulls noted after the game, saying they had to get better with making the most of their opportunities.

“They’re a good team and I thought we played well. We were just talking about how there were a few chances that we should’ve put away, and we’re going to work on being a little more aggressive up top,” Lucas said.

Echoing his players, Lloyd emphasized getting “gritty” on offense and making something out of imperfect opportunities.

“You have to be a little more gritty and not let everything be perfect. And for us I think it’s making better judgements on ball, understanding the scenarios we’re in [. . .] just creating more opportunities for ourselves,” Lloyd said.

The Salisbury offensive pressure was once again countered when Captain junior midfielder Gabby Gillis drove the ball through the Sea Gull defense, shooting the ball just past the fingers of diving goalkeeper Hope Knussman, ricocheting off the right goal post and into the left corner of the goal in the 25th minute.

This score gave CNU the 2-0 lead, and they turned to wearing down the Sea Gull defense. The defense held, however, and Salisbury did not let up any more goals on the afternoon. Both teams struggled the rest of the game to get consistent offensive pressure on the other, as both were playing stout defense.

Looking ahead to their next matchup, the Sea Gulls heads to Frostburg State (6-7-2, 5-1-1 CAC), with the number two spot in the CAC playoffs on the line.

“I don’t necessarily know that we’re going to change anything we’re doing. We’ve been super successful so far this season [. . .] we’re just going to go in and fight as hard as we can,” Lucas said.

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