By Zack Penalva
Last Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Point Park Pioneers probably won’t be remembered as one of the greatest game the Eagles women’s team has ever played. The result was ground out over 90 minutes where neither team could dominate the middle of the field.
Regardless, the win was all that mattered at the end of the day; a second-half penalty kick from defender Kathryn Hale was all it took for the Eagles to leapfrog Point Park in the conference standings and take the number one spot in the KIAC.
Asbury had all the momentum going into the game after demolishing Brescia University 9-0 the game before and all eyes were on freshman Shanda Painter to continue her goal scoring form after finding the back of the net five times in Owensboro.
The game started off with a scare for the Eagles when a high ball bounced in between the two central defenders and was picked up by a Point Park forward. The threat ended up coming to nothing when her shot was hit directly at goalkeeper Lizzie Hoffa.
Much of the Eagles’ attack during the first half came down the right side, and midfielder Jenna Bird was extremely busy throughout the first half making runs to the goal line and putting the ball into the Pioneers’ box.
Despite the barrage of crosses, Bird was not able to pick out an Asbury forward. The most dangerous ball of the first half came in the 17th minute when a lofted ball passed just over the head of an unmarked Meredith Ury, who would have been able to make the game 1-0.
It was a shaky start to the second half for the Eagles when a bad back pass allowed a Pioneer forward to go one-on-one with Hoffa. Asbury was let off the hook when the shot was driven straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.
A breakthrough finally arrived in the 59th minute. A cross into the
Point Park box bobbled around and struck the outstretched hand of a Pioneer’s defender. The referee blew for a penalty kick and Kathryn Hale stepped up and put a ball low and to the right of the goalkeeper to give the Eagles the lead.
As the game moved on in the second half, it became clear that Asbury’s one-dimensional attack down the right side was beginning to get shut down by the Point Park defense.
The late introduction of junior Cassie Holland on the left side and the shift of Ury to center forward balanced out the Eagles’ attack and nearly led to a late goal. Holland got the ball on the left side and beat one defender, only to see her shot near-post shot saved by the Pioneers’ keeper.
With only one game left on the schedule, the Eagles have the chance to go 5-0 in the KIAC if they win on the road against Cincinnati Christian University on Oct. 29.