By Chuckie Maggio
In the middle of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ inaugural 1976 season, in which they went 0-14, coach John McKay was asked what he thought of his team’s execution. His reply? “I’m all for it.”
St. Bonaventure women’s soccer coach Steve Brdarski isn’t the kind of coach to even think of making such a quip, but the team’s offensive execution-or lack thereof-was one of the biggest pitfalls in their 2-0 loss to Davidson on Friday afternoon.
The Bonnies outshot the Wildcats 11-7 with two more shots on goal, but many of those shots were long balls from outside the 18-yard box. The good chances from close range were all wide left or wide right, and the frustration intensified with every near miss.
“They took advantage of their opportunities, we didn’t; that’s (the game) in a nutshell,” Brdarski said. “We played good soccer at times and had some moments where we thought we were definitely going to score, but we just didn’t do enough to convert those chances.
“We spent a lot of time this week working on those moments, but sometimes you do all you can and the ball just doesn’t go in,” he continued.
The adage about the ball not bouncing the Bonnies’ way may seem like a worn-out cliche, but on Friday Davidson simply cashed in. Stephanie Piperno scored the first Wildcat goal 15 minutes in after weaving through two Bona defenders and burying an open look from 16 yards out. Lauren Grace Himes’ goal in the second half off a nice corner by Vicky Bruce put Bonaventure in a hole they were not able to dig out of.
The Bonnies don’t have time to dwell on the conference-opening loss. They head out to Richmond Saturday morning for a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Spiders. Richmond stands at 6-5-1 and is coming off a double-overtime tie against Duquesne on Friday night. The quick turnaround is a great opportunity for the team to get back on the right foot and win their first road game of the year in the process.
Senior defender Alicia Elwell will continue to be a critical part of that effort. Elwell has displayed a shutdown mentality in her career, denying opposing midfielders free reign down the sidelines and helping anchor a Bona defense that has only allowed five goals in the last six games.
“I love that kid; she’s dynamite,” Brdarski said with a smile. “We went with three backs at the end, which puts a lot of pressure on them, but she does everything we ask of her. She consistently plays with heart and makes the big tackles. I’m impressed and proud.”