On Nov. 2, the Dons returned to home soil for the first time in a month, with their last home game being a 0-3 loss to Loyola Marymount. It seems as though the San Francisco soil did the Dons some good, as they graced Negoesco Stadium with a triumphant return, securing successive wins over BYU and San Diego to finish out their season with a triumphant roar.
Prior to their returning home game, the Dons held a lackluster 1-5 record against BYU. The second-to-last game of the season was a chance to better the ratio, and the Dons decidedly capitalized on the opportunity to both improve their record and give themselves another win.
The match began with a spark of hope for the Dons as Izzie Lueken scored just over three and a half minutes in with an assist from Samantha Jehnings. This goal acted as a morale buffer when, 20 minutes later, BYU scored on a rebound and tied the game.
The match was a nail-biter — with the crowd unsure of who would break the tie and emerge victorious — until just over 68 minutes in, when Desiree Major drilled a shot from 30 yards out and pushed the ball beyond the BYU goalkeeper and safely into the netting. The point she added to the board was not only the goal that would spell victory for USF, but also Major’s first game-winning goal as a Don. As a result of their performance both offensively and defensively, the Dons won the game 2-1.
Thanks to the Dons’ defense, only 13 of the 26 shots made by BYU were on goal. Meanwhile, USF had nine shots on goal throughout the evening, with almost a third of those making it in.
Sophomore goalkeeper Olivia Camera kept her composure after BYU’s answering goal, not allowing any more to be scored on her for the remainder of the game. Throughout the game, she made 12 saves — just short of her season record of 13 saves at Stanford. Camera has proven herself to be a watchful guardian between the posts, and she has continued to improve and impress throughout the season.
The chilly weather did not slow the women of USF down on Saturday night for the final game of the season. The last game also marked the Senior Night ceremony prior to the game, four seniors were honored: Allison Arriola, Sonja Giraud, Maddy Glaser and Camille Wilson. It was a bittersweet send off for the seniors, who have contributed an incredible amount to the team through their time and effort over their years as Dons athletes, but their victory over San Diego surely softened the blow.
In a fitting farewell, Giraud played a key role in both of the goals scored on the bitterly cold night. She scored one of the two goals that USF managed to put in net, also managing to become sixth all-time in the franchise’s history with a total of 21 goals scored. Giraud also assisted sophomore Miciah Madison’s goal — her fifth this season alone — just nine minutes before the game’s close.
If the offense wasn’t enough, the Dons’ dexterous defense held San Diego to only seven shots throughout the night, and none of those shots made it into the net. Goalkeeper Camera had another stellar night, with four saves throughout the game.
There were no penalties throughout the game for USF nor San Diego, making it a clean and fair match to close out the season. In all, the Dons beat San Diego 2-0 in a fitting victory.
With their back-to-back wins to accelerate the blast, the USF women’s soccer team finished out their season with a rightful bang. Overall, the Dons have posted a 7-10-2 season record with a conference record of 3-5-0.
Their determination to win, persistence whilst overcoming slumps and sportsmanlike devotion to the game and to the team brought them triumph throughout the season, and will no doubt propel these women to victory for many seasons to come.
Featured Photo: Allison Arriola (25), Jonja Giraud (27), Camille Wilson (4) and Desiree Major (6) are respected at Senior Night DonsAthletics/Flickr