June 12, 2012
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. – The Virginia Beach Piranhas took the pitch eager to keep their home winning streak alive as they faced the Dayton Dutch Lions in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. The Piranhas (2-2-1) and Dutch Lions (0-3-1) met for the third time this season and second time in three days after playing to a 1-1 tie this past Saturday.
Unbeaten at home, the Piranhas were able to add another victory, although the match started slow. However, Virginia Beach picked up momentum with an early goal in the 14th minute by Esther Anyanwu, with an assist by Rasheeda Ansari. Both Ansari and Anyanwu are currently ranked within the top 20 point leaders in the USL W-League.
Ansari added to the Piranhas lead with an assist by Taylor Mertz in the 38th minute, rallying after an injury to Jessica Kalonji left the team down one player. Virginia Beach continued to dominate with a goal in extra time of the first half, again Anyanwu finding the net with the help of Ansari, leaving the team with a 3-0 lead.
“We started off a little slow, but we worked through it,” said Head Coach Wendy Waddell. In the first half, she said the team got the ball moving and delivered crosses that put the Piranhas ahead of the Dayton defense.
“We got very lucky in the first half with some of those goals going in,” said Waddell. “We were making a lot of mistakes but we ended up on top at the half.”
After an intense meeting in the locker room, the Piranhas came into the second half more aggressive and added much needed pressure, resulting in an assisted goal from Megan Mossman to Emily Kittleson in the 63rd minute and an unassisted goal by Mossman in the 74th minute.
With three games in a week, the team will resume practice on Thursday to prepare for another home match-up against the Fredericksburg Impact, one of the teams standing in the way of the Piranhas making it to playoffs according to Waddell.
“We have some work to do but all the dynamics are there. We just need to get together more as a team and play more as a team.”
With the upcoming matches against the current top two teams in the Eastern Atlantic Division, Waddell says the Piranhas are continuing to use this middle portion of the season to make a strong push for the playoffs but need to find consistency, playing both halves equally strong and aggressive.
“We work too hard to not be able to show the fans that we can really play,” said Waddell. “I felt confident we were going to win tonight but we didn’t play the way we usually play, how we need to be playing.”
Knowing that only the number one team from each division advances to the playoffs, the Piranhas are poised for a strong run to close out the 2012 campaign. With D.C. United and Fredericksburg currently at the top, Waddell said she is still optimistic as anything can happen within the W-league.
“It’s just one of those things we have to hope and pray for. We just need to go out and do our job for the rest of the season and hopefully it will roll our way.”
With another home doubleheader at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex this Saturday, June 16, the W-League Piranhas will close the night against the Fredericksburg Impact, a kickoff time set for 8:30 p.m.
Virginia Beach Piranhas
Virginia Beach: Esther Anyanwu 24 (Ansari)
Virginia Beach: Rasheeda Ansari 38 (Mertz)
Virginia Beach: Esther Anyanwu 45+ (Ansari)
Virginia Beach: Emily Kittleson 63 (Mossman)
Virginia Beach: Megan Mossman 74
Virginia Beach: Marbel Egwuenu (Johnson 45), Cheyenne Martinez-Trevino, Victoria Johnson, Jessica Kalonji (Hauck 77), Melanie Adams, Odishika Chukwuji, Emily Kittleson, Taylor Mertz (Mossman 45), Amanda Fenton (Wombwell 45), Esther Anyanwu (Garrett 59), Rasheeda Ansari
Dayton Dutch Lions: Ashley Daniels, Lauren Mettinger (Dietz 71), Kara Cooper (McConnell 60), Stefani Knopick, Deidre Abouamhed, Kelsey Zwergel, Jen Agueci, Claire Falknor, Sarah Gross, Taylor Dearbaugh (Charles 53), Emilie Fillion (Naijar 53)
Shots: VB 11, DDL 4; Saves: VB 2, DDL 1; Fouls: VB 11, DDL 1; Offsides: VB 5, DDL 3;Corners: VB 3, DDL 1;Cautions: Virginia Beach (Anyanwu 57), Dayton Dutch (Falknor 80); Ejections: None; Officials: Robert Velbis, Sean Kent, Shannon Poplestein; Attendance: 187; Weather: Overcast, Windy, Rain.