On Military Appreciation Night, the Pilots went to war with sister school rival Notre Dame.
By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
There is not much more one could ask for from a soccer game than what happened Sept. 7 (except a winner). There were exciting goals, missed shots off the goal post, physical play and double overtime resulting in a 1-1 tie.
The 'Holy Cross War' pitted the Pilots women's soccer team against the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. There was a buzz around the stadium before the game for Military Appreciation Night and the student section was in full force.
"We have the best student body section in the country," head coach Garrett Smith said. "Our fans, including the community that comes out to support us, is second to none."
With the support of 4,932 fans, the Pilots came out in the first half ready to battle the Fighting Irish. It was a physical match with strong defense, making shots hard to come by for both teams. UP benefitted from great saves by goalkeeper Erin Dees and lucky bounces off the goal posts.
After a long fight in front of Notre Dame's goal, midfielder Rebekah Kurle scored her first goal of the season off a corner kick by midfielder Ellen Parker in the 31st minute
"It feels really good but it feels even better that I get to celebrate it with my teammates," Kurle said about the goal.
Eight minutes later, Notre Dame answered with a goal of their own. Fighting Irish midfielder Sammy Scofield scored with a header from a corner kick by forward Anna Maria Gilbertson, in the 39th minute to end the half in a 1-1 tie.
The Pilots came out strong in the second half with more shots and put more pressure on Notre Dame. Notre Dame did not have any shots until the 65th minute of the second half.
"They knew they had to get a little tougher and just have a different mentality," Smith said.
Despite UP's aggressiveness, numerous scoring opportunities and five shots on goal compared to Notre Dame's one in the second half, the 1-1 score did not change. The goal post seemed to be one of the Pilots' biggest allies, blocking multiple Notre Dame shots.
At the end of regulation the game was still tied 1-1. After two ten-minute overtimes, the game ended in a tie.
"We have a saying that we are 18 strong," Kurle said. "We all believe in each other. We trust our fitness."
The Pilots travel to play USC on Sept. 16, carrying a record of 4-1-1, while USC has a record of 2-3-1. Their next home game will be Sept. 21 against Seattle University at 7 p.m. at Merlo Field.