By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
One 110-minute marathon just wasn’t enough for the St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team this week. In their first game since a 1-1 tie against Canisius last Tuesday night, the Bonnies battled the Oakland Golden Grizzlies to the same result in front of 200 fans at the Marra Athletic Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Oakland forward Cecilie Dokka put the Grizzlies on the board in the 17th minute off an assist from Joan Seija. Bonaventure outshot Oakland 8-3 in the opening half but went into halftime with a 1-0 deficit on the scoreboard.
The second half was a mirror image of the first. The Grizzlies were the ones with a major advantage in shots in the final 45 minutes of regulation, with 12 tries to the Bonnies’ two, but it was the Bonnies who got the goal when forward Abby Maiello put it past the keeper off the feed from Danielle Vis.
Bonaventure coach Steve Brdarski challenged Maiello and fellow senior Lauren Hill to be more consistent this season, and the duo has responded with a goal each early on in the season.
“When you look at what they do, how much running and work they have to do for 110 minutes, the fact that they’re still working hard at the end shows you how special they are,” Brdarski said. “They’re power players, they’re either going 100 miles an hour or nothing.
“It’s hard to keep doing that over and over, but I’m proud of them and it’s pretty awesome.”
For the second consecutive match, Bona headed into overtime, with two ten-minute periods to attempt to break the deadlock. The Grizzlies had four shots to the Bonnies’ two in the extra session, but the closest call was Bonaventure freshman Marley Jarvis’s shot off the crossbar with 48 seconds to go. Bona earned a corner kick as time was expiring, but was not able to get it off in time.
Jarvis’s near miss was proof that soccer is a game of inches, but as head coach, Bona’s Steve Brdarski knew that sometimes you have to take the draw.
“It’s demoralizing when you lose those (overtime games),” Brdarski said. “To be able to show that we bent a little bit but didn’t break, and to see (the girls) keep fighting and pushing and playing with tons of heart, I was pretty proud.”
Set pieces were vital in Sunday’s match, as Maiello’s goal came shortly after a free kick. SBU looked disorganized at times on set plays last season, but the team has worked to fix those issues early on in 2015. While free kicks, corners and penalties aren’t the only reason the Bonnies are 0-1-2 (no wins, one loss, two ties) as opposed to the 1-2-0 start they had last year, the improvements are noteworthy.
“I was proud with the way the girls dealt with set pieces in the second half,” said Brdarski. “We did a really good job of getting girls back in the box with the ball in the air, and then Abby scored on that (free kick).
“In the first half we had four set pieces I thought we could have scored on, and some girls really stepped up in pressure situations.”
And hindsight is always 20/20, so the veteran manager wasn’t exactly eager to push the NCAA to change the rules and allow the Bonnies to take that last free kick.
“Right now, for sure I’d (change the rule),” the third-year coach said with a laugh. “Ask me again in a couple weeks, because if that goes against us I’m not too sure.
“Would I have liked to have had a timeout with ten seconds left? I wish.”