Shepherd women’s soccer shows resilience with late goal to tie Fairmont State

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Brianna Gorman came through when it mattered the most for the Rams, netting a clutch goal at the 89:33 mark off of a corner kick. (Photo courtesy of Shepherd University Athletics Department).

On a day where seemingly no shot the Rams (2-2-3, 2-1-3 MEC) took would go in, senior defender Brianna Gorman took a corner kick and sent the ball to the back of the net at the 89:33 mark to tie the game at 1-1 against the Fighting Falcons (2-2-3, 1-2-3 MEC) of Fairmont State University on Sunday afternoon in Shepherdstown on Alumni Day.  

The Rams needed an answer after giving up a goal at the 53:29 mark in the second half. Cameryn Ciresi weaved her way through the Rams’ defense and sent a shot past the Rams’ junior goalkeeper Christi Labella to give the Fighting Falcons a 1-0 lead.  

After a scoreless first half, the Fighting Falcons had finally broken through and provided the game’s first score.  

Gorman’s goal later in the half, however, sent the game into overtime, where neither offense could convert on any of the opportunities they made for themselves. The Rams got eight of their 25 shot attempts off in the two extra periods, but repeatedly could not get the ball past the stiff wall of the Fighting Falcons’ defense.  

The Fighting Falcons’ goalkeeper Shawna Graham, a junior, was a big reason why the Rams could not convert more of their shots into goals, as she posted 12 saves during the match. 

Graham made a great save at the 107:07 mark off of a shot from sophomore midfielder Brooke Harwood to keep the score in tact at 1-1. Just moments later, Gorman took another corner kick, looking to score the go-ahead goal. Freshman defender Katherine Eddy lined up for the shot, but sent the ball wide left. 

After this, the Rams would not get any more opportunities to get a shot off, as the game would end in a 1-1 draw.  

The Fighting Falcons had very limited shot opportunities in the overtime period, only getting off two of their 12 shots. Senior midfielder/forward Alexis Lindsay had one of these opportunities in the second overtime period, but her shot was saved by Labella at the 101:44 point in the game. Labella likewise displayed her goalkeeping talents in the match, finishing with six saves of her own. 

Sophomore midfielder/forward Abigail Johnson had another chance just moments later to give the Fighting Falcons the lead, but her shot went high over the goal. 

This was the Rams’ third overtime game of the season, with all three matches ending in a tie. 

The Rams’ attack was balanced, but mainly came off the feet of Eddy and senior forward Samantha Leonard. Eddy posted five shots in the game, with three of them being on goal. Leonard launched seven shots at the Fighting Falcons, but only two of them were on goal. 

From the start, the match was incredibly physical, as there were 35 combined fouls. Fairmont State had 21 of these fouls, while Shepherd had 14. A total of five yellow cards were handed out during the match (three to Fairmont State, two to Shepherd), as both sides made it be known that this was going to be a physical match from the start. 

Usually, the Rams do not generate as many shots (25) as they did on Sunday afternoon, but could not capitalize on their numerous opportunities. However, this has to be an encouraging sign going forward for a team that’s previous highest shot total was 16 on the season. 

On Wednesday afternoon, the Rams will host Concord at 12 p.m., as they will be searching for their second win in their last three games. 

Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at abrack02@rams.shepherd.edu