The Rams were forced to play from behind for most of the game. In the 15th minute, Hofstra got on the board after Kristin Desmond redirected a cross into the back of the net. “Going down early 1-0 was not necessarily heart breaking, but we did have a battle ahead,” said head coach Jessica Clinton. The Rams were forced to play catch-up from that point and responded in a big way in the 32nd minute. Senior defender Brianna Blunck sent the ball towards the net off of a corner kick.
“I kept trying to mimic my first corner and pull the keeper off her line,” Bluck said. The pass, a low line drive, was corralled by freshman forward Amanda Miller, who spun and flicked a shot into the back of the net. “My corner fell short, but Amanda made it look good for me by scoring off it,” Blunck continued. The goal was Miller’s first of her college career, as well as an important equalizer for the Rams.
The tie was short lived, however, as the Pride responded almost immediately, scoring the go-ahead goal in the 39th minute. It ended up being the game winner “We did a great job managing to come back to tie the game, but Hofstra was very good at making the most of their opportunities,” said Clinton.
The Rams did not shy away from the challenge of being down yet again and had multiple opportunities to score, which they were unable capitalize on. In the 53rd minute, sophomore midfielder Lane Cronin ripped a shot towards the right post that was knocked away by the Hofstra goalie Friederike Mehring. In the 58th minute, senior forward Nicol Natale was on the doorstep of a goal, but could not get the ball up over Mehring, who made the save on the goal line. “We were certainly unlucky on some shots as their goalkeeper made some key saves,” said Clinton. The 2-1 loss is Fordham’s first since Oct. 26, 2015.
The Rams were able to keep the game close on Sunday thanks to the outstanding play from Blunck. “Bri has been a tremendous player for us this season,” said Clinton. “Her physical strength is outstanding, but her mental toughness is on another level”. She was all over the field against Hofstra, whether contributing on offense or defense. On multiple occasions, Blunck attempted to win 50-50 balls but ended up colliding hard with Hofstra players or even her own teammates. Each time, she popped right back up and jumped back into the action as if she had never been touched.
“In the position I play on the field, that extra edge can mean the difference between winning the ball or risk letting a drive down the line or cross happen,” Blunck said. Her toughness is something the Rams need going forward, especially if they plan on responding positively to their loss. “Bri has the ability to be a game-changing player,” said Clinton. “I would imagine and hope that she sees herself taking on the role a bit more.” Of this, Blunck said, “I just try to play my hardest to put my team in the best position to succeed.”
Blunck and the Rams will look to bounce back from the hard loss against Hofstra. “I don’t think that the best team won that game, but a loss can sometimes give us a better sense of what we need to work on moving forward,” Blunck said. The ladies will try to turn it around on Thursday at Connecticut, with the start time set for 7 p.m.
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