The Washington Spirit took down the University of Virginia 3-0 on Saturday. It is the first time the Spirit have beaten UVA in a preseason match up.
Estefi Banini got off to a quick start with 2 goals in the first fifteen minutes. The first opportunity given to her by a smooth assist from Katie Stengel and the second coming off a deflection after Christine Nairn fired off her own attempt.
Goal number 3 came in the 38th minute during a corner attempt. The corner cross didn’t produce but Nairn got control of it again and found Stengel inside the box. Stengel showed great awareness as she gave the ball a quick touch and it bounced into the far side.
The second half of the game had limited excitement. Opportunities were there, but the wet 36 degree weather disrupted most of them.
Being the first preseason game, we won’t worry about evaluating too much, but a few things are worth mentioning.
First, Stengel had the most impressive outing of the squad. I know Banini had two goals, but one of them came from a Stengel assist and Stengel got her own on a heads up play. Stengel comes out as top performer for me because of how often she was contending for a ball and how often she was in position. She had at least 4 runs that fell short of a shot opportunity because the assist couldn’t get there, which brings me to point number two.
The second note is mid-range passing. Passing distances more than 2-3 yards was difficult for both teams. “The weather played a factor tonight and you could see that with both teams. It was harder to connect passes and it was so slick and the ball was moving all over the place.” said Stengal. It’s easy to blame it on the weather, but as Coach Gabarra told media after the game, “everybody has to adjust to the conditions.”
I’ll sandwich the con with two pros by mentioning that shot accuracy was wonderful. The Spirit shot 11 times, 8 of them being on target for 3 goals. That’s 72% accuracy with 27% success.
Ultimately, there isn’t much to read into here, but its fun to start evaluating. Be sure to listen to the podcast for player and coach interviews.
Featured on this weeks podcast: Katie Stengel, Christine Nairn, Coach Gabarra, Coach Swanson, and Joanna Lohman.
Goal Summary – min, goal (assist):
3′ Estefi Banini (Katie Stengel)
15′ Estefi Banini
38′ Katie Stengel (Christine Nairn)