Rubosky's Goal Lifts Women's Soccer To A 1-0 Win Over Vanderbilt
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Kasey Rubosky was the hero once again for the Gonzaga University women's soccer team Sunday. The sophomore midfielder, who scored the game winning goal for the Bulldogs Friday in their 1-0 defeat at Austin Peay State University, did it again Sunday, tallying the lone goal to give the Zags a 1-0 victory over Southeastern Conference member Vanderbilt University.
The win not only pushed Gonzaga's overall record to 5-1 but it also allowed the Zags to make history as it is the best start in program history.
"The best thing about our 5-1 start is the confidence and momentum it gives the players going into another tough weekend and it proves to them they are a really good team," explained fourth-year head coach Amy Edwards. "Ultimately it is a good first sprint of the long run of this marathon of a season."
Rubosky's goal came in the 26th minute off what Gonzaga is becoming known for - set pieces. Taking the free kick was sophomore Tori Lee who pushed the ball to Rubosky after she noticed her first option wasn't viable. Rubosky was able to strike the ball well but got a bit of luck when her shot deflected off a Vanderbilt defenders back and found its way to the opposite upper-90 of the goal.
"Kasey had a good weekend for us," stated Edwards. "She was in the right place at the right time and was able to give us two game winning goals."
Rubosky may be the hero for propelling GU to the win, but the credit goes to the team for its defensive efforts to stifle all Vanderbilt threw at them, especially in the second half, to secure the second-straight shutout.
"To get two shutouts this weekend was because of our solid defending," Edwards said. "It was the whole team defending. Our players have a defensive mentality and a great work ethic; that led the way today."
The Commodores (2-2-1) had three opportunities in the final 45-minutes in which the Bulldogs came up big to defuse.
The first was seconds after Vanderbilt kicked off the second half. Cheyna Williams received the ball on the flank near the end line and got around Cricket Harber and had a clear path towards goal. Morgan Manchester stepped up and was able to tackle the ball away from Williams though and clear it from danger.
"Morgan was the backbone of the defense today," stated Edwards. "Her defense was really, really good this weekend."
The Commodores best opportunity came in the 69th minute when they were awarded a free kick 20-yards from goal. Jamie Kator sliced a shot around the Bulldogs wall but Gonzaga keeper Susan Brown read it perfectly and was there to scoop up the save.
"Susan came up big when she needed to today," Edwards explained. "Along with being in the right place in the second half on their free kick, she also kept us in the game in the first half with a ridiculous, full extension save on a 25-yard shot."
The shot Edwards was referring to came in the 35th minute and was hit by Kator. Brown finished the match with four saves.
The final heart-pounding moment was with 10 minutes remaining before the final whistle was blown. Vanderbilt played a ball into the box that was miss-read and bounced over Zag defender Anna Lund. Fortunately it took the open Commodore player a tad long to control it, which gave Manchester time to once again tackle the ball away.
"We weren't perfect today, but we anticipated and read the plays well and as a team were covering for each other all day long," said Edwards.
The Bulldogs themselves had opportunities in each half. The two best chances in the first came on long throw-ins that dropped in the six with the Zags just missing getting to them. In the second, junior Emily Eckmann had a long shot that was saved and freshman Lauren Luke had a shot blocked.
Gonzaga now returns home to host two in-state rivals this upcoming weekend at the Gonzaga Soccer Field. The Bulldogs open the weekend hosting the University of Washington, Friday at 4 p.m. and close it out battling Seattle University, Sunday at 1 p.m.