Off the heels of their first two losses of the season, the Owls entered conference play unsure of where they would stack up in The American.
To make matters worse, Seamus O’Connor’s team wasn’t very well-liked by the Cincinnati home crowd.
“There was a big crowd and it was quite a hostile environment out there … their student section was heckling our girls pretty good, but I thought they handled it very well.” head coach Seamus O’Connor said “It was a very physical game and we aren’t the biggest team but, our heart and determination is what got us the win tonight.”
The Owls entered the half down 1-0, but were urged by their coaches to maintain consistency and remain patient.
“At halftime we told the girls that we had to stick to the game plan and try to expose some of the weaknesses that Assistant coach Keith Cappo had pointed out” O’Connor said “Then in the second half we came out with a lot of heart and determination and were able to execute”
The Owls tied the game up in the 73rd minute on a goal off a free kick from junior defender Erin Lafferty. They then took the lead just seven minutes later off another free kick, this time from junior forward and leading goal scorer Kelly Farrell.
For O’Connor, Farrell’s goal was among the best he’d ever seen.
“The free kick that Erin hit might have been one of the nicest goals I have ever seen” O’Connor said “To be able to put the ball top corner like that, in that situation, is just world class.”
During halftime, O’Connor told the team they would be able to break the composure of the Bearcats later in the game.
O’Connor’s plan to take advantage of the Bearcat’s desperation proved to a pivotal moment in the game.
“We told them at halftime once you tie this game up, and you will tie it up, they are going to start to panic and that is when you need to go and grab the win” O’Connor said “Once we tied it up, we knew they would panic and start sending extra players forward and that’s when we took advantage.”
While impressed with the two late-game goals, O’Connor really credited his defense for holding the lead in the last 12 minutes of play. The Bearcats put on a lot of pressure at the end of the game, putting numerous balls into the box and had opportunities off of 3 straight corner kicks in the 83rd minute. But, the defense held the fort.
“They must have put 25 balls into the box after we took the lead and had corner after corner” O’Connor said “But, the defenders were just phenomenal at the end of the game and did an excellent job in not letting them score in all those opportunities.”
Jacob Guzdek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org