Depth leads No. 9/14 Virginia Wesleyan to win over Shenandoah
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Twenty-eight players competed for Virginia Wesleyan College's women's soccer team Wednesday as head coach Jeff Bowers utilized his deep bench in a 4-0 Old Dominion Athletic Conference victory over Shenandoah University's Hornets on Foster Field at the Trinder Center.
The nationally ranked Marlins (No. 10 by D3soccer.com, No. 14 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America) dominated for most of the game, scoring a pair of goals in each half.
Rookie Kerry Knauss (Frederick, Md./Governor Thomas Johnson) put the first goal in the net for VWC (9-0-1, 4-0-1 ODAC) in the 21st minute. Thirty-four seconds later the Marlins had a 2-0 lead as rookie Kaitlyn Clunan (Virginia Beach/Bayside) ripped a shot high into the net on a penalty kick followed a Shenandoah foul.
Shenandoah (3-6-1, 1-2-1 ODAC) picked up its pace in the second half, but could not break through the VWC defense. The Marlins took a 3-0 lead in the 72nd minute on a 25-yard boomer into the middle of the net by sophomore Caitlyn Bishop (Virginia Beach/Princess Anne). Eight minutes later it was 4-0 after seniorJenna Riegel (Sinking Spring, Pa./West Lawn Wilson) headed the ball into the right side after a long cross from rookie Allie Ketzler (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central).
Shenandoah's best chances to score came late in the game when Brittany Butcher (Cave Creek, Ariz./Cactus Shadows) fired a shot from the left at VWC goalie Erica Keil (Wayne, N.J./DePaul Catholic). Keil made the save, the ball ricocheted to the right where sophomore Celia Valez (Alta Loma, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos) headed it away from the goal. SU's Brittany Mason (Laytonsville, Md./Damascus) retrieved the ball and took another shot at the goal, but Keil was there again for the stop.
Keil finished with six saves and improved her goals against average to 0.25, which is currently the ninth best in the nation in Division III. She improved her saves percentage to .923, tying her for the 14th best mark in the nation.
He effort helped Virginia Wesleyan to record seventh straight shutout and eighth in 10 games. The Marlins have outscored foes 24-0 in that seven game streak.
Virginia Wesleyan finished with a 25-10 advantage in shots and a 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
Nichole Pratt (Chespeake/Atlantic Shores Christian) produced seven saves for Shenandoah.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Friday, Sept. 28, play at Emory & Henry College in an ODAC game starting at 5 p.m.