Women’s soccer falls to Drexel, unable to lock up playoff berth

Mason's lone goal came in the 87th minute off of a corner kick from redshirt sophomore Jazmin Cardoso (pictured above), which found the foot of senior Nicole Peters for the goal. (John Powell).

The George Mason women’s soccer team (7-6-5, 4-3-3) looked to solidify their playoff hopes, and could have with a win, but fell 2-1 to the Drexel Dragons Sunday afternoon. Two first-half goals proved to be too much as the Patriot women fell from second in the standings into a tie for fifth, with six teams advancing to the playoffs.

Fourteen minutes into the game, Drexel midfielder Megan Hammaker was able to get the ball through the defensive line to find forward Jenna Lindsay on the right side. After one move, she was able to send a well-placed ball on the ground to the left corner of the goal, catching Mason’s sophomore goalkeeper, Lyndse Hokanson, just out of reach.

The Dragons refused to let up their offensive attack. Twenty minutes after the first goal, forward Jess Lowinger moved to the left side and crossed the ball on a long kick to the opposite post. She found Jess Sarkisian, who saw the goal chance. She punched the ball as hard as she could and an attempted save on a backwards dive could not keep the ball out of the net.

“We conceded too early with goals we shouldn’t have given up,” head coach Diane Drake said. “We just haven’t had the luck of the soccer gods, honestly.”

Unfortunately, the flatness the Patriots showed in the first half continued into the second half, all the way to the 80-minute mark.

“Just wasn’t our day,” defender Nicole Peters said. “Sometimes it just comes out that one team has the luck going in their favor, and it just wasn’t us today.”

After halftime, the scores from games around the league were announced, letting the team know that nearly every team in contention had won their afternoon matchup. Communication eroded and the game wore on. Opportunities to score went for naught as nobody was in position to finish plays. They took 19 shots in the game, 10 in the second half alone, but the lack of finishing became a glaring issue.

As the game wound down, Mason had opportunities on three separate set plays. With 3:50 to go, midfielder Jazmin Cardoso took a corner kick from the right side. With perfect strength, Peters put herself in perfect position to knock the ball in with a header.

“It was a great cross,” Peters said. “I was just in the right place at the right time, and we really needed a goal. I just put it in the upper 90. It was a great cross by Jazmin.”

But the Patriots simply ran out of time as the Drexel defensive line wore down the offensive attack by kicking the ball to midfield. Time ran down without another viable threat for a 2-1 loss.

“We were in a really good position coming in to today,” Hokanson said. “And we just didn’t bring what we should have today. It’s unfortunate because our seniors really deserve more.”

The Patriot women return to action Saturday as they host Towson (9-9-0, 4-6-0) at 5 p.m. in the second game of a men-women doubleheader. A win clinches a playoff berth, but a loss or a tie could throw a wrench into the who stays and who goes.

“I’d like everybody to step up,” Drake said. “We had maybe three or four step up today. The rest just panicked.”

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