Aug. 29, 2003
BOCA RATON, FL. -The Florida Atlantic University women's soccer team opened the 2003 season with a bang Friday night with a 2-1 overtime win over Loyola College in the second game of the Florida Atlantic/Marriott Kick-Off Classic. Freshmen Christina Chang and Cristina Rodriguez scored their first career points while Danielle Castro scored her first goal in two years.
"This was a very strong showing by our team," said Assistant Head Coach Jim Blankenship. "This is a team [Loyola] that has been to the NCAA Tournament and our girls showed up and would not back down. This was a big win for us tonight."
FAU, playing in only their second overtime game in the last year played aggressive from the start of OT. Five minutes into overtime, Castro, who is second on the all-time assists list, ran down the right sideline towards midfield looking for an open teammate. She spotted midfielder Rhonda Jones making a run towards goal and launched a shot 45 yards. The ball narrowly missed Jones's head but took a huge bounce over Loyola keeper Erica Niemann's hands into the back of the net for the team's first overtime win in since September 9, 2001.
The night started slowly though, with each team trying to gain the momentum. The Lady Owls struck first in the 17th minute when Rodriguez pushed up the right sideline and crossed the ball towards net. Loyola keeper Erica Niemann made a punch save on the ball, but to the feet of sophomore Denise Brolly. Brolly wound up and shot the ball that ricocheted off of the right post and out of bounds. The Greyhounds would strike back.
In the 43rd minute, Carolyn Kennington ripped a shot from the right side, 35 yards out, which dipped past FAU keeper Molly Keating to put Loyola up 1-0 going into the half.
"We had a tough first half, but we talked about it at halftime and made the right adjustments needed to win the game," said Castro.
The second half proved to be an exciting time for the freshmen class, as Rodriguez set up Chang for their first career points. Rodriguez rolled out to the right sideline and passed it just past a Loyola player to the feet of Chang. Chang blasted a shot from 25 yards out past Niemann to tie the game at 1-1 with 24 minutes remaining in the half.
"I was so nervous playing in my first college game," said Chang. "When I scored that goal it was so surreal, I almost broke down. To help my team on a goal like that, it was just awesome."
FAU out shot Loyola 13-7 while Keating recorded three saves on the night. This marked the second meeting between the two schools, the last time being a 2-1 overtime victory for the Greyhounds in 1997.
The Lady Owls return to play on Sunday, August 31 at 12:00 pm against the University of Indiana at the FAU Field in the third game of the Kick-Off Classic. Season ticket packages can be purchased before the season starts. Adult packages begin at $35 for the 10-game season while individual ticket prices will be $4 for adults and $2 for seniors/children. Call 866-FAU-OWLS for more information on how you can get tickets for the 2003 Lady Owls soccer season.