Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gonzaga men edge UW-Milwaukee, ladies fall to Oklahoma State

Full INWsn photo galleries: MEN -- WOMEN
After a heartbreaking, dramatic loss in overtime Friday, the Gonzaga men bounced back and earned a hard-fought 1-0 win against UW-Milwaukee Sunday afternoon at Luger Field thanks to a second half Ben White tally. The Bulldog women, however, were unable to find the back of the net in a 2-0 loss to the Cowgirls of Oklahoma State.

WOMEN - Oklahoma State 2 :: 0 Gonzaga  

Though they had a fair amount of possession in the offensive third, the lady Bulldogs were unable to fully threaten the Cowgirls in the opening game of the day, allowing the visitors to come away with the win on a counter and an olympico.

Oklahoma State got the first good look o fate match 19 minutes in when a ball forward over the defense forced goalkeeper Christie Tombari (Spokane, WA) to come out. Well out of the box, she took collided hard with defender Ariana Pumpelly as she headed it away. The ball was immediately fired at goal by Courtney Dike out of the midfield, but it bounced in the box and over the crossbar.

Gonzaga created a chance in the 32nd that looked promising when a ball on the right side was thrown in by Lauren Luke to Karley Baggerly just inside the area. The striker sent it back to Luke, who delivered a cross through the box to Savannah Van Citters, whose shot didn't have enough pace on it to beat diving goalkeeper Michela Ongaro.

Seven minutes later the Cowgirls tallied the go-ahead goal on a quick counter-attack created by a long ball served from deep on the left side up the touchline. Haley Woodard raced out of the middle with a Zag defender shoulder-to-shoulder and won the ball, driving diagonally toward the end line before firing a shot near post that beat Tombari.

Five minutes into the second half the Cowgirls locked things up with an insurance tally when a corner floated near post by Christina Jean-Charles soared over the reach of Tombari and into the back of the net for an olympico.

The Bulldogs fought hard looking to rally, but the offense struggled to find any creativity in the final third to produce quality, open looks at goal without the presence of Heather Johnson (Kennewick, WA), who is out with an injury for several more weeks according to Gonzaga Head Coach Amy Edwards, who was clearly disappointed with the effort on the day.

"A little different second half from the first half, and if we are mentally going to go away from the game plan and not compete with each other, it's going to be tough to come back," said Edwards.

MEN - UW-Milwaukee 0 :: 1 Gonzaga 

In a back and forth contest, the Bulldogs defense again was the highlight of the day as goalkeeper Chris Lowrimore was hardly tested on the day with only one save needed for the team's third shutout. Through six games, the Zags have given up just four goals.

"Seems like we are holding and not letting team's get behind us very much," said Gonzaga men's Head Coach Einar Thorarinsson. "On the same token, some times we are struggling getting connected through the midfield. We can't always rely on the long ball out of the back, but it worked today."

In addition to the shutout, defenders Ben White and Conner Bevans again played a key role in providing some threat in the attack with White eventually netting what stood as the game-winner in the second half.

The goal came in the 55th minute when Alec Johnson (Coeur d'Alene, ID) turned and redirected the ball up the left side from midfield to the overlapping White, who continued his run into the area before unleashing a shot from 16 yards just before the defender challenged and slipping it under the the hands of goalkeeper Agustin Rey, who missed the ball.

"Those two guys, I don't know where they get their engines," Thorarinsson said of White and Bevans. "Ben is up and down the field the whole game, and hasn't come out yet all year. Conner is the same thing."

At this point, goals from anyone on the field are welcome for the Zags, who are finding them at a premium with only five so far this season.

"We are struggling a little bit. Obviously when it's one-nil, one-nil we are not doing well enough up front and we have to fix that."

Gonzaga's first look in the game came just before the half-hour mark when Colton Cavey fired a well-paced effort from about 28 yards that tested the keeper's hands.

Four minutes before getting their opener, a free kick from the left side also nearly broke the deadlock when it was headed in front of the far post at the top of the six by Nick Ulowetz only to see it slip inches over the bar.

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