By Chuckie Maggio
When St. Bonaventure senior Abby Maiello found the back of the net with seven minutes left to bring the Bonnies level with Akron on Friday night, it looked like SBU was about to go into its third overtime in the last four matches in the first match of the Alumni Classic it is hosting.
Zips midfielder Shea O’Brien foiled that overtime scenario when she got into the box freely as time was running out and booted a shot past Bona keeper Christina Sarokon with seventeen seconds left. The Bonnies fell to 1-2-2 with the loss.
The undefeated Zips controlled the game for most of the match, outshooting SBU 20-4 and creating more chances, but hung on to a 1-0 lead for much of the match, unable to extend the lead.
Forward Sarah Sivic put Akron on top in the 24th minute, but the MAC (Mid-American Conference) team left the door open for a Bonaventure equalizer, and Maiello finally cashed in when she corralled a deflection and beat the keeper. O’Brien’s game-winner came off a one-on-one situation in which Sarokon, who played the second half after Beth Moore started the game.
Bona coach Steve Brdarski lamented a first half in which his team was not able to match the Zips’ energy.
“The biggest concern I had in this game was that we had a home game, playing in a tournament setting, and we just came out flat,” said Brdarski. “In the first 45 minutes we let (Akron) get too much confidence and too much energy, and they were doing many things at will.
“Now, obviously we changed some things and we were a different team in the second half than we were in the first half. But I wish we had the same energy and the same urgency in the first 45 minutes. We can’t let teams get in that position where they’re dictating things and you’re having to do damage control.”
When the Bonnies are at their best, the passing game is crisp and controlled, almost dominant at times. There are no stats kept for turnovers, but Bona was less accurate than it tends to be, and Brdarski took notice.
“One of the things that shocked me the most was the amount of errant passes,” Brdarski said. “We’re a team that takes pride in keeping the ball and winning the ball, and I thought the first 45 minutes was unlike any game this year in the fact that we kept giving balls away to them and letting them start the counter-attack.”
The Bonnies return to the Marra Athletics Complex pitch on Sunday at 2:30 when they host Cleveland State. It will be Bona’s second and final game of the St. Bonaventure Alumni Classic.