The Gonzaga women's soccer team (6-2-0, 4-1-0 WCC) bounced back from its first conference loss of the season with a 1-0 home win against the Saint Mary's Gaels (1-4-2, 1-3-1 WCC) Saturday afternoon.
Both sides had quiet offensive starts to the match. Despite the Zags dominating the possession game and keeping the Gael defenders on their heels from the start, neither squad got a shot off through the first 27 minutes.
In the 28th minute, the Zags earned the first corner kick of the match. Senior forward Alaysia Lane lobbed a ball in from the right side but was not quite able to connect with any GU attackers making runs.
The Zags quickly threatened again with another great look on goal in the 30th minute. A long ball from GU’s back row found its way to the foot of sophomore forward Lauren Elwer who ripped a shot directly at the Gaels’ goalkeeper who swatted it out of bounds, forcing another GU corner kick.
Off the corner kick, redshirt senior defender Maddie Cooley had a good look at a cross but was quickly stifled by two Gael defenders.
Cooley got another great look on goal two minutes later off a free kick from junior midfielder Sophia Braun, but her shot sailed above the net.
The offense quieted down a bit toward the end of the first half, but the Zags picked up their energy again in the closing minutes.
Redshirt freshman forward Maddie Kemp found herself in the center of the pitch beyond the box and fired off a shot in the 44th minute. The shot was just within reach of Saint Mary’s freshman goalkeeper Taylor Poland, ending a scoreless first half.
The GU defense played a solid first 45 minutes, not allowing any shots from the Gaels.
In the second half, the Zags ramped up the offensive pressure and continued dominating in the midfield. GU was controlling the ball well and beating Saint Mary’s in nearly every battle, rocketing off on-target one-touch passes that helped quicken the tempo.
The Zags’ first serious goal threat in the half came in the 50th minute when a cross from Elwer on the right found a running Kemp in the center of the pitch but her shot sailed out to the left.
Although the Zags were keeping up their offensive pressure they were plagued by second-half foul trouble, giving the Gaels free possessions. The team amassed 19 fouls throughout the game with 11 of those coming in the second half.
A GU foul in the 56th minute set up a free kick near the box for the Gaels. Saint Mary’s sophomore midfielder Taylour Mendoza took the shot but it was within reach of GU sophomore keeper Lyza Bosselmann.
Mendoza fired again a minute later, but Bosselmann was there once more for the save.
GU continued knocking and in the 60th minute Elwer was able to poke a ball around Poland and it was heading toward the goal until a Saint Mary’s defender swooped in for the save.
A foul in the penalty box just seconds later allowed Braun to take a penalty kick. Braun fired her game-winning shot to Poland’s left and it found the back of the net, lifting the Zags to a 1-0 victory.
The Zags continued to control possession for the remainder of the game and keep the Gaels’ offense at bay. Kemp got another shot on goal in the 79th minute, but neither side scored before time expired.
Bosselmann finished with four saves for the Zags. Braun finished with the lone goal, and Kemp contributed four shots, two of which were on goal, off the bench for the Zags. Elwer and freshman forward Kate Doyle each fired off two shots.
The Zags' next match is a meeting with Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah on March 27 at noon.