MOSCOW, Idaho - The Gonzaga University women's soccer team used an explosive first half to defeat the University of Idaho 3-2 Friday in Moscow, Idaho. The Bulldogs, down 1-0 early to the Vandals, used first-half goals by Emma Dolcetti, Ali Ohashi and Kellyn Nelson to claim the come-from behind victory.
Idaho did indeed stun Gonzaga with its goal 9:10 into the opening 45 minutes. Jill Flockhart scored on a cross by teammate Megan Lopez. It was Flockhart's first goal of the season.
"We didn't expect to be down a goal so early, so I think at that point it sparked a sense of urgency in our attack," explained Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards. "We have been talking in practice about taking people on and after Idaho's goal we got 12 crosses off, which helped us become dangerous."
The Bulldogs nearly scored 30 seconds after the Vandals found the back of the net but a shot by freshman Heather Johnson went inches wide of the left post.
Gonzaga finally broke through and tied the match 1-1 at the 15:39 mark when senior Anna Lund passed a ball to the breaking Dolcetti. The senior forward hit a shot that deflected off a Vandal defender before making its way into the net.
"Emma had a good game today," explained Edwards of Dolcetti. "We pulled her out to the flank and she helped us on both sides of the ball. She was a tireless worker and it showed on the goal she scored today."
The Bulldogs took the lead for good almost 15 minutes after they scored their first goal. Freshman Sila Tuiofea cracked the ball towards the back of the goal to an on-coming Ali Ohashi, who one-timed the ball into goal at 30:37.
The goal was Ohashi's fourth career goal and first of the season after missing the first two matches due to injury.
The Zags added their third goal four minutes before intermission when Nelson, a freshman, headed in a corner by Tori Lee for her first goal of her collegiate career.
"We got some nice things out of young players today, especially Kellyn and her header goal," stated Edwards. "She is very dangerous in the air for us."
Idaho wouldn't give up despite being down two goals going into the final 45 minutes and was able to cut Gonzaga's advantage to one goal with 21 minutes remaining in the contest when Meli Cortez scored off a cross by Amber Pimley.
The Vandals got four other shots off in the second half, three more than the Bulldogs. Senior Susan Brown had to come up big in the final 45 minutes for Gonzaga, making two crucial saves.
"We lost a bit of urgency in the second half," said Edwards. "We didn't mean to play that defensive. Idaho controlled the rhythm early in the second but we reclaimed it after their second goal. They [Idaho] will battle till the end and it took our entire team to win the game today."
Gonzaga improved to 2-1 on the season with the victory, while Idaho dropped to 1-2 with the loss.
The Bulldogs return to action Sunday when they host Boise State University at the Gonzaga Soccer Field. The match is set for noon.