MORAGA, Calif. — Freshman midfielder Vanessa Gaitan notched her first career goals in the opening 14 minutes, as Saint Mary's women's soccer displayed an impressive team performance to clinch a 2-1 win over Fordham Sunday afternoon at Saint Mary's Stadium.
SMC improves to 1-1 on the season, bouncing back nicely after a narrow loss to Sacramento State. Fordham moves to an overall record of 1-1 with today's loss to the Gaels.
The Gaels got off to a fast start and controlled much of the first half with great intensity and poise all across the field. Saint Mary's displayed great defense from the midfield and defenders, as the team prevented the Rams from any shot opportunities in the opening 45 minutes.
Leading 2-0, the Rams fought back pressuring the Gaels defense and goalkeeper Sarah Sawatzky. Fordham found the net in the 85th minute, but the effort was too late as the Gaels sealed the victory with high energy and teamwork.
HOW THE GOALS HAPPENED
- Saint Mary's (1-0): Just 39 seconds in, senior defender Valerie LaForge delivered a beautiful ball to the top of the 18 yard box, where Gaitan showcased her great shooting ability with a shot that found the upper corner for her first career goal as a Gael.
- Saint Mary's (2-0): At the 13:54 mark, the Gaels were again on the attack, this time with forward Jaylen Crim running down the right sideline. Crim delivered a crisp pass into the six yard box which was flicked by Jordyn Cunningham and tapped in by Gaitan.
- Fordham (1-2): Down the right flank, Lane Cronin passed to Morgan Busacca for the curling cross. The ball was found by Crea Baker-Durante, as her header floated over the reach of Sawatzky and into the right side of the net.
Quotes with Saint Mary's Head Coach Travis Clarke
- “The whole team responded well after Friday's loss. I am extremely proud of today's game, and it was a complete team performance.”
- “Vanessa [Gaitan] is the real deal, and we knew what she is capable of. She is a box-to-box midfielder with a tremendous motor. We saw it in training camp, the first game, and today.”
- “The team played well in all areas of the game today. Defense shut out Fordham's attack for the most part, especially in the opening half. The midfield controlled the game well and created chances for our forwards.”
- “I thought our players off the bench came in and produced well for us today. Our team has good depth and they all contributed to help secure today's win.”
- In her first career match in goal, Sawatzky produced a clean performance with three saves.
- The Gaels had an impressive five shots on goal, as four different players all put attempts on goal (Gaitan (2), Kelsey Hill, Jackie Dutton and Jaylen Crim).
- Six Gaels finished playing the entirety of the game: Sawatzky, Hill, Dutton, LaForge, Jessica Ko, Jasmine Edwards and Heather Seybert.
- Since the end of 2016, the Gaels have won four of their last six matches.
- Hill, Edwards and Seybert lead SMC in minutes played in 2017, as all three have played the entirety of the opening two games.
- The Gaels had six of their starters either freshmen or sophomores.
- SMC had six freshmen play in the game.
- Brenna Crow and Lydia Buggs made their collegiate debuts in the second half.
GAELS HIT THE ROAD
- Saint Mary's will now hit the road for a pair of quality road matches. The Gaels will take on Washington State on Friday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m., then travel to Moscow, Idaho to face the Vandals on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 12 p.m.
- Live stats for both matches can be found on the Gaels schedule on SMCGaels.com or by clicking HERE.
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