The Gonzaga women’s soccer team defeated the Loyola Marymount Lions 3-0 Saturday afternoon at Luger Field.

The Zags looked to continue its winning ways against the Lions in the first game of the season at Luger Field. In the teams’ last matchup, Katie Doyle, Erin Healy and Sydni Burrup each scored a goal in a 3-0 victory against the USD Toreros last Saturday, giving the Zags its third consecutive win in the season. The Zags have scored at least two goals in each of its last three games, totaling seven goals in those three matches.

The Zags would face the Lions in the third straight conference game of the season. Coming off a 3-1 loss to BYU, the Lions were looking to play spoilers in the Zags’ hopes to continue its undefeated West Coast Conference (WCC) record thus far in the season. 

The Zags began the game possessing the ball and finding holes in the LMU defense to capitalize on. The Zags would find that hole in the 15 minute mark, and senior forward Maggie Conners took on a defender on the right sideline and got to the endline. Looking for a teammate, Conner played the ball across the box and found sophomore forward Lauren Elwer at the back post, who smashed the ball into the back of the net and gave the Zags a 1-0 lead.

“That might be the best goal that we score all year based on the pieces that went into it,” GU head coach Chris Watkins said.

The Zags had a physical presence on the pitch in the first half. Getting stitched in on every tackle and dominating on the 50/50 balls, the Zags made themselves feel known offensively and defensively. Committing six fouls in the first half as well, the Zags constantly look to find a balance between having a dominating physical presence on the pitch and not letting the fouls get out of hand.

“That’s something we talk about a lot,” Watkins said. “It’s a fine line, and I think it’s something we’ll talk about all year.”

The Zags outshot the Lions 9-5 in the first half, converting five of those shots on target. Each team had one corner kick opportunity and four saves from their respective goalkeepers in the first half.

The Zags picked up right where they left off in the first half, keeping the ball and waiting for the right time to attack. Senior captain Jordan Thompson almost got the second goal for the Zags, but the LMU goalkeeper made a routine save, keeping the score at 1-0.

Thompson would capitalize on another opportunity given to her from a corner kick from junior Alaysia Lane. Lane would play a teasing cross from the corner on her left foot, falling to Thompson at the back post and blasting it with her right foot to the near post, giving the Zags a 2-0 lead with half an hour remaining in the match. For someone like a Thompson, who is a defender, scoring a goal was very exciting for her.

“Alaysia served an amazing ball,” Thompson said. “I didn’t know what to do when it went in.”

Redshirt freshman forward Maddie Kemp would increase the team’s tally to three goals after scoring a screamer from outside the box. Cutting in on her right foot, Kemp ripped a shot over the outstretched hand of the LMU keeper, extending the lead to 3-0 in favor of the Zags and ultimately finishing the game with that scoreline.

GU goalkeeper Lyza Bossleman came up with some big saves throughout the match. Coming up with a total of five saves, the Zags were able to claim its third clean sheet in the last four games.

“We played well,” Watkins said. “We played with a lot of good energy and played really well… scoring three goals, I’ll take that everyday.”

The Zags would finish the game with 22 shots compared to the nine shots from the Lions, having 10 and six of those shots on target respectively. After having an all-around dominant match, the Zags will hope to continue its WCC winning streak alive against the USF Dons Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco.

Vinny Saglimbeni is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @vinnysaglimbeni.

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