Women’s soccer looked to bounce back this week after a tough loss to UConn. The women opened their A-10 season against Rhode Island and followed that up with a game against Saint Joseph’s. Yet, after playing both games, the team’s win percentage remains at zero, even though no team has been able to outscore them. The women tied both A-10 opponents this week, bringing their in-conference record to a bizarre 0-0-2 and moving their record for the season to 5-3-3.
Last Thursday the Rams opened their A-10 schedule against Rhode Island. The game was evenly matched through the first 40 minutes until Rhode Island’s Donika Murray broke the tie. Murray capitalized on a Fordham turnover and scored a goal, giving Rhode Island a 1-0 lead.
The Rams, who have frequently played from behind this year, maintained their composure. In the 57th minute senior forward Nicol Natale made a run and penetrated the Rhode Island defense. Natale crossed the ball to sophomore midfielder Brooke Salmon, who buried a shot in the right upper 90. The score remained 1-1 through regulation and the two overtime periods. The tie gave each team a point toward the conference standings. “I think the point against URI was especially important considering we were on the road,” senior defender Ally Doyle said
The Rams’ second game of the week was against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. The Hawks were held scoreless in the first half by Fordham’s “Department of Defense,” but the Rams were unable to find the back of the net. It was not until the 64th minute, when the Hawks found a way to score off of a corner kick, that either team was able to get on the board. Just over a minute later Natale again made a run. This time she crossed the ball towards the center of the goal, where it found sophomore midfielder Clara Gastaldi. After corralling the pass, Gastaldi composed herself and put her first goal of the season away. Again, the 1-1 score remained through regulation and overtime. The Rams and Hawks both picked up another point in the standings, giving Fordham two points thus far. “I think in the grand scheme of things two ties is a positive due to the fact that we got a point from each game,” Doyle said.
Doyle and her back line mate Nicole Bates are key factors in the Rams’ defensive success in the last two games. “I think what separates Bates and I from other center backs is our connection,” Doyle said. “We are lucky to have been able to play next to each other for the past 3 years and have developed a really strong trust in each other.”
Doyle also knows that it takes a full effort from the defense and can’t just be chalked up to her and Bates. “As a whole, I think our defense has performed very strongly,” she said. “We already have multiple shut outs this season, and when faced with a tough front line, we have put up a battle even though we may not have gotten the result we have wanted.”
Doyle has high hopes for where her team can go from here. “[W]e are going to be a force to be reckoned with, whether teams anticipate it or not,” she said. “I hope we will finish what we started last year.”
The Rams return to action on Thursday, when they will take on VCU on Jack Coffey Field. VCU currently sits one point above Fordham in the standings. Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m.