Women’s soccer looks to turn things around
“We keep saying, ‘Okay, we can clean this up. We can clean this up,’” Head Coach Jess Mannella said following another rough loss for the Saint Joseph’s University women’s soccer team. “It’s kind of past time. The time is now. We have six conference games, and we could win all six, which is great.”
St. Joe’s fell to Saint Louis University 3-0 on Oct. 1. The game was scoreless after the first half, but St. Louis were able to score two quick goals after the half and a third later in the game to seal the victory.
“The first goal was legitimate,” Mannella said. “The second goal we had a miscommunication error. To me, that’s focus and physical fatigue. Then the third goal, we went for it. We were playing three in the back for 25 minutes and when you take that risk, sometimes you score and it works and sometimes you get scored on. That’s what happened, we got scored on.”
The Hawks’ last win came at Richmond University on Sept. 21. Since then, they’ve lost to La Salle University in overtime and tied with George Mason University in double overtime, both at home.
“We went into double overtime on Thursday night [against George Mason] and I think that just really hurt us for Sunday [against St. Louis],” Mannella said. “St. Louis is a really, really good team, but I still think we just seemed a step slower than them all over the field. Every time we got the ball, they pressured us and we just weren’t doing well [to] keep the ball. It put a lot of pressure on our defense.”
The recent bout of overtime games with unfavorable results have caused both physical and mental fatigue. This, in addition to a long plane ride and tiring travel, may have played a role in the Hawks’ lack of preparedness and focus.
“The second goal is one of those goals that doesn’t normally happen,” Mannella said. “It was just a miscommunication error. A back was trying to pass to the keeper and the girl just swept in and then they had a PK [penalty kick] because of it. If that didn’t happen, maybe we would’ve had more confidence.”
St. Joe’s isn’t making excuses though. There are more tangible aspects of their play that can be addressed and improved in addition to mental preparation.
“The things that keep happening are like man-marking situations,” Mannella said. “That’s something we just need to keep working on. But at the same time, it’s also focus. We need them to hopefully just come.”
The Hawks will travel again to Virginia Commonwealth University on Oct. 5 before returning home to host Dayton University on Oct. 8 for their next two conference games. Currently at 6-4-2 overall and an unimpressive 1-2-1 in the Atlantic 10, St. Joe’s looks to quickly turn things around as they approach the midpoint of the conference season.
“We do have a tough road ahead,” Mannella admits. “We have VCU away, then we have Dayton home. We have a lot to prove playing Dayton again. My point is it’s time to get in shape. We can’t keep saying, ‘Oh, well we can fix this or we can fix that.’ The time is now.”
A successful game against VCU could be enough to put St. Joe’s back on the uptick.
“When you get that win again, it kind of erases things,” Mannella said. “So if we can get this win on Thursday, it’ll definitely put us on a positive push for having a home game on Sunday, so that will be nice.”