Women’s soccer: Longwood shuts out Richmond, 1-0

longwood logoLongwood sophomore goalkeeper Maria Kirby made a school-record-tying 11 saves, and freshman Amber Gustafson scored her first career goal to drive the Lancers to a 1-0 shutout win over Richmond Sunday afternoon at Robins Stadium.

Kirby’s 11 saves matched the Longwood Division I era record set by Marcia Biddle against Radford on Oct. 2, 2008 and propelled the Lancers (4-4-0) to their fourth shutout of the year. The Lancer defense added two more team saves to break the school’s Division I single-game saves record en route to Longwood’s second win in the past three games.

“Kirby played out of her mind in the second half and bailed us out with big saves on several occasions,” said Longwood head coach Todd Dyer. “Our scoring chances were limited, but Gus [Gustafson] made the most of her opportunity when it was presented, and that goal was the difference in the game.”

Kirby’s historic 90-minute performance included six saves in the second half, with four of those coming in succession during a span of 5:40 shortly after Gustafson’s go-ahead goal. The sophomore goalkeeper deflected four consecutive Richmond shots during that flurry, including the derailment of a Spider corner kick.

Those four saves kept Longwood’s lead intact after Gustafson beat the Richmond (2-6) defense for the go-ahead goal just 39 seconds into the second half. It was the first career goal for Gustafson and the first career assist for freshman classmate Sydney Wallace, who opened up the scoring opportunity by slipping a ball past two Spider defenders right to Gustafson, who finished the play to the far left post from 15 yards out.

Richmond’s game-tying opportunity came just five minutes later when Dana Bernetich sparked the shooting flurry with the first of five straight shots on goal over the next 8:29. Kirby snuffed four of those and got some help from her defense with a team save on the last attempt.

That offensive burst was the closest Richmond (2-6) would get to overcoming Gustafson’s goal until the 85th minute when Kirby came through again by batting away Richmond’s final two shots on goal. Richmond’s final shot came in the 89th minute, but Kirby handled it to preserve the win and put her name atop the single-game saves leaderboard.

Following the shutout, Kirby has allowed just 0.79 goals per game while saving 88.0 percent of shots she has faced in her five games.

“Richmond is always a big game for our program, and it’s never easy,” Dyer said. “Our possession was sporadic in the first half, but we were able to hold things together defensively. Kirby kept us in it, and we took advantage of the scoring opportunity we had in the second half. Now all the focus is on High Point and the start of conference play Wednesday.”

The win over Richmond concludes a stretch of five consecutive road games for the Lancers, who return to the Longwood Athletics Complex this Wednesday, Sept. 23, to take on Big South foe High Point in the season opener at 7 p.m.


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