BUENA VISTA, Va. – The women's soccer team took to the road on Saturday evening to open Capital Athletic Conference play against Southern Virginia University. A quick strike moments after kickoff would end up being the game winner for the Sea Gulls, who shutout the Knights, 1-0.
The maroon and gold made quick work in the first half when forward Ruthie Lucas received a pass upfield from teammate Lydia Narum. The turf field had the ball moving quickly towards the net, but Lucas was still able to beat Southern Virginia goalkeeper Merideth Ouellette to the ball to give Salisbury the 1-0 lead.
The Sea Gulls had an opportunity to double their lead in the 15th minute off a corner kick. The kick by Narum found the head of midfielder Jamie Tacka, who redirected the ball in front of the net, but Ouellette made a great play by jumping up to swat the ball from just below the crossbar.
The Sea Gulls controlled possession throughout most of the first half by executing a crisp passing game while also shutting down the Knights' ability to find open players. Southern Virginia began to figure things out defensively later in the half, making it tougher for Salisbury to find its shots in the final 15 minutes.
Lucas had an opportunity a minute into the second half when she found the ball in the offensive zone with no defenders in her path, but her shot sailed just high of the net.
There was a period in the second half at the 60th minute that saw a momentum shift. The Knights began to step up their offensive pursuit and had the Sea Gulls briefly playing on their heels. The best attempt at a score by Southern Virginia occurred during their push when Alli Rigby found an opening up the left side of the field. Goalkeeper Hope Knussman made an aggressive play, coming out to the edge of the box to pounce on the ball before Rigby could get her shot off.
Salisbury would regain momentum for the final 20 minutes and wouldn't allow the Knights to find another good shot the rest of the way.
The victory marks the first Sea Gulls' shutout of the season. They led the game in shots, 18-6, and corner kicks, 8-0. Knussman needed to make only one save to earn the shutout.
Salisbury continues its road trip on Sunday, September 24 when the team travels to take on Bridgewater State University. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.