Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gonzaga women tripped up by struggling LMU

Unfinished chances left Bulldogs on wrong end of scoreline Friday
The Lady Bulldogs scored early and had a significant advantage of play in the first half, but two goals against the run of play for Loyola Marymount Friday was enough to snatch a 2-1 victory on the road Friday in Spokane.

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The Zags came out swarming the LMU goal and less than two minutes into the contest Mikayla Anderson gave the hosts their first good look with a shot from inside the penalty arc that flashed just wide of the right post.

Less than a minute later, however, Anderson would connect. On a great run up the right side with plenty of space, Karley Baggerly easily curled around the outside back and drive toward the corner of the the area and end line where she slotted a ball inside the six for Anderson one-time inside the near post for the lead.

In the 12th minute the Bulldogs created another pair of anxious moments for the Lions off a corner kick.

On one of their few forays into the offensive end in the first half, the Lions evened things up in the 18th minute when a restart on the right side finished with Morgan Hilby connecting with Shannon Kent for the equalizer.

Gonzaga had a multitude of chances to reclaim the lead over the next 20 minutes.

A minute later Baggerly and Anderson worked the ball up into the box and after both were thwarted on the play dropped it back to the onrushing Kasey Rubosky, who sent a shot narrowly over the goal from the top of the box. In the 20th, an uncontested run from Aliyah Miller out of midfield resulted in a 22-yard effort that was blocked, rebounding out to Baggerly, whose effort was saved by the keeper.

In the 26th minute a ball was quickly played up the field to Cassie Geerdts in the box, but her shot from about 13 yards was deflected wide. Three minutes later defender Jordan Travis drove forward and got a look at goal about 24 yards out that was saved by Sophia Leksan.

In the 32nd minute Travis again played a role in an opportunity for the Zags, bringing  the ball well forward from her position. The play ended in Anderson's possession at the outer right corner of the area, where she turned and fired. The ball took a very slight deflection from a challenging defender but still ventured goalward, smacking off the far upper right portion of the left post.

Those missed chances came back to haunt the Bulldogs as a free kick for the Lions in the 39th minute gave them the advantage. Jenni Benger delivered the restart from about 40 yards out just midway out on the left side, directing the ball to the far post where it pinballed to the head of Hilby.

With the lead in the second half, the Lions clamped down on the Bulldogs and the quick passing and consistent attack disappeared as the possession and play evened out between the two sides.

Eight minutes into the period the Zags nearly answered with a long free kick goal of their own, however. Travis sent the dead ball from the touchline at midfield toward the far post over. It sailed over the last defender and bounced near the top of the box coming down to the head of onrushing Katey Pennington, who nodded it on the run narrowly over the crossbar.

Four minutes later the Lions began to press matters at the other end looking to put the match away. A shot from inside the box forced goalkeeper Christie Tombari to leap just to ensure it did go under the bar, instead slipping just over.

Three minutes later, though, Tombari nwould come up huge for the hosts. After a Lion player was dragged down in the box at the hour-mark, the keeper made a huge save on the spot kick from Jocel Blankenship, who sent the ball slightly to the left to elicit the diving denial.

Four minutes later the Lions sent a shot from a sharp angle on the end line was kept out by Tombari, who tipped it over the bar.

The Bulldogs continued to seek out an equalizer, but as fatigue set in and the defense continued to clamp down, all the Zags could muster were long shots that either missed the mark or were easily collected by Leksan.

The result left the Bulldogs at 8-7-0 and 3-2-0 in the conference, essentially eliminating the ladies from any outside chances of the postseason had they won out in conference play to finish with just one loss.

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