Slow start sparks late goals

Victoria Nelson, Contributing Writer

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Fairbanks gets herself into the open field and leads the Crusaders with her optimism and intensity. University of Dallas Photo.

The University of Dallas Women’s Soccer team pulled out their third conference win in a double overtime thriller against Texas Lutheran University on Friday afternoon. The Lady Crusaders outlasted a sluggish first half where they were outshot 1-12 to come back for a tightly contested second half and two intense overtime periods. Even though TLU doubled UD’s shot count 10-20, the Dallas offense dominated everything after halftime, allowing TLU fewer and fewer shots every period.

“We had a slow start, but we pushed through,” said sophomore keeper Elena Naccari, credited with Friday’s 1-0 shutout. “Our team stepped up in all positions to get the win.”

Two midfielders were ultimately responsible for the goal in the last minute that won the match. Sophomore midfielder Alice Nelson connected with freshman midfielder Mariana Burciaga, who found the upper left corner of the net with a well-timed header off Nelson’s corner kick.

“I think what worked for us is that no one gave up, everyone worked really hard and played with heart and it helped us connect better,” said Burciaga after the match. “I think we were really successful in switching the field and point of attack. I was really excited about my goal; it’s the first one I’ve scored this season, and the fact that it was a game-winning goal makes it all the better. I’m really proud of my team.”

The Crusaders continued their trend of halftime turnarounds in Sunday’s game against Southwestern University. Although they would drop the contest 2-4, they tied Southwestern with a shot count of 16, 13 of which occurred in the second half.

“I was very proud of what my team did in today’s game,” said senior forward/midfielder Mariah Fairbanks, who scored the first of UD’s two goals. “We fought until the end of the game and never let up. In the second half, we maintained possession, were able to stay in Southwestern’s defensive half and get more shots off than we had in the first half.”

A penalty kick from senior midfielder Abigale Weisbrod rounded out UD’s scorecard in the 80th minute, but it wasn’t enough to break Southwestern’s lead, which was solidified in the final minute of the game with one more goal. Fairbanks, however, reflected optimistically on the weekend and on their upcoming games.

“In my opinion, we proved we were the better team,” she said. “Our challenge moving forward is getting that passion and fire started from the blow of the whistle.” T

he Lady Crusaders improved to 3-6-1 in conference and 4-11-1 overall. This weekend they are on the road against Centenary College of Louisiana and Austin College.

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