Women’s Soccer Finds Overtime Magic Against George Mason and VCU

Charlie Maisano, Staff Writer

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Ninety minutes wasn’t enough for the Fordham women’s soccer team not once, but twice last week in big wins against George Mason and VCU.

Entering the contest on Thursday against George Mason, Fordham was 2-8-2, they had lost two games in a row and only scored seven goals total throughout the entire season. Like the Rams, the Patriots saw themselves in a similar situation. They entered the game with a 2-7-1 record, were winless in conference play and had lost three games in a row. Clearly, both teams needed a victory in order to boost their confidence and most importantly, save their season.

The game was scoreless going into the halftime break but got very interesting in the second half. Fordham would get on the board first in the 66th minute, thanks to the first goal of the season by junior Maura Holst. Holst was awarded a penalty kick after a handball in the box by the Patriots and she took advantage of the opportunity. It only took the Patriots four minutes to even the score at one courtesy of Shannon Lee. Lee headed in her first goal of the year inside the left post off of a corner kick by her twin sister, Emma. 

With no one able to break the tie in regulation, the Rams looked to a familiar face to end the game in overtime. In the 94th minute, sophomore Claudia Cuicani collected a pass at the 30-yard line then booted a long cross all the way into the box. Waiting for it was Holst, who hit the ball backward with her head. It was deflected by George Mason goalie, Louisa Moser, but she was unable to corral the ball and it rolled past the goal line for the win. 

With Holst’s game-winner, Fordham defeated George Mason for the first time ever in program history after seven previous meetings. Head coach Jessica Clinton knew exactly what prompted her team to respond this way following a tough stretch to start the year.

Pressure,” she said. “The team knows that we need points in order to move forward. If you don’t score, you don’t earn 3 points. They know that and they are fighting really hard to score. It’s really wonderful to watch. They are digging in moments that they have not before and players are stepping up.”

With momentum on their side, the Rams traveled to Richmond, Virginia to face the VCU Rams on Sunday. They didn’t wait long to continue their hot streak, as Maggie Roughley scored four minutes into the game to give Fordham the early 1-0 lead. The Rams from the Bronx struck again to double the lead in the 27th minute after Juliana Mascelli put the ball in the back of the net on a corner kick that got by the defenders. 

While the first half was all Fordham, the second half was all VCU. The Rams from Richmond got one of the team’s leading goal scorers, Susanna Friedrichs, to cut the lead in half in the 61st minute and proceeded to tie the game in the 70th minute off of a Fordham own goal. With the lead evaporated and the momentum firmly in the hands of the home team, Fordham dug deep and forced their second straight game into overtime.

Much like the game on Thursday, overtime didn’t last long in favor of the Maroon and White. In the 92nd minute, Kristen Cocoza collected a cross in the box from Marissa Stanco and quickly fooled the VCU goalie. Brecht Haakma came out of the net thinking Cocoza would send a blast past her, but instead, the freshman forward bounced the ball into a wide goal for the win.

Although her team got the win, Clinton thought the other Rams did more in the second half to force the game into overtime. 

VCU simply came out harder and high pressed us more,” she said. “They came out tougher. VCU’s coach was not happy walking into the locker room and I’m sure her players heard it. They simply came out with more fire then we did. Our group did the best they could in the 2nd half, but luckily, we put away two chances in the first half.” 

After these hard-fought victories, the Rams get somewhat of a breather. They only have one game next week, instead of two, on Sunday at home against the University of Rhode Island. With new energy and some time off before their next game, the team is in good spirits and they are in the best spot they’ve been all season, thanks to their late-game heroics.