Sophomore forward Samantha Leonard was the focal point of the Rams’ attack early and often Wednesday afternoon. Leonard was a constant thorn in the side on the Blue Knights’ defense. She scored at the 3:47 mark off of a nice feed from junior defender/midfielder Danielle Fernandez.
The first few minutes of the game, the Rams had several defensive miscues that could have been costly. From a bad touch to a bad clear out, the Rams were faced with a high-stress level from the start.
Once the Rams settled in with several nice passes and ball movement, they were able to set up Leonard with a great shot that she sent to the back of the net.
After the game, Head Coach Jonathan Thayil credited the play of sophomore goalkeeper Christi LaBella and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Rhoderick, who split time in goal and combined for the shutout.
Thayil gave praise to junior midfielder/forward Taylor Harwood as well. “Her work ethic and general leadership has been really big for us there in the last few games,” Thayil said.
Thayil also said the level of the Rams execution declined in the second half,
“In the first half we did an OK job of executing the things we had talked about before the game,” Thayil said. “In the second half there was a significant drop off and we didn’t do as much as we needed to or should have to take away some of their threats. I thought our passing dropped off in the second half.”
Clearing the ball on the defensive half when necessary was also an area of concern, Thayil said.
The Rams were outshot (20-10) and had a losing edge in corner kicks (7-1).
Where the Rams did win was in the most important statistic: the scoreboard.
The Blue Knights had more chances, but did not capitalize on them, like the Rams did with their early goal.
Anthony Bracken is a staff writer for The Picket. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.