CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State women's soccer team opened the 2013 season with a victory Friday evening, as the Vikings defeated Canisius, 3-2. CSU's three goals came from three different players, as Amanda Sivic, Taylor Vidovic and Vickie Havas each notched their first goals of the season.
"Starting off the season with a win is always a good thing," head coach Derrek Falor said. "It was kind of a gutsy win, and I think we found out a lot about ourselves that we didn't know after a gritty game like we just played. We were able to have some good possessions off of set pieces which was good to see and something that we always need to be working on."
The Vikings were able to get on the board early, as Sivic put home the first goal just 1:44 into the contest. After dribbling the ball to the top of the box, Sivic fired off a shot that beat the Canisius keeper to the left side of the net to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Just eight minutes later, Havas had an opportunity to put the Vikings up 2-0 after getting a pass from Sivic at the top of the box. From here she had a good look with a shot on goal, but the Canisius goalie was right on target to make the save.
The Griffins were then able to tie the contest at 1-1 in the 25th minute, before Allie Sieradzki had a chance to give the Vikings a 2-1 advantage with an open shot before the end of the first half. Following a CSU corner kick, Sieradzki was able to put a header towards the goal, but it went just high of the crossbar, putting the halftime score at 1-1.
The beginning of the second half was almost an exact copy of the first half, as the Vikings were able to once again put the ball in the back of the net just 1:41 in to the second frame. Vidovic was able to give CSU a 2-1 advantage after she got a pass from Shea Levi in the top left corner of the box and sent the ball across the box to the bottom right corner of the net.
"We have some new formations that we are using this season and we are trying to keep possession of the ball on offense and move off the ball to get open shots," senior captain Taylor Miller said. "Tonight we were able to score multiple times after moving off the ball and finding players with the open shot. We have good team chemistry this season and hopefully that will allow us to be successful on the offense end throughout the year."
Canisius once again evened the score six minutes later, but the game-winning goal would come in the 70th minute, as Havas converted her first penalty kick of the season. After a yellow card was called against Canisius in the box, Havas was able to put the ball past the Canisius goalie for the 3-2 CSU lead.
"Since the beginning of preseason we have felt that this team would be able to finish, the question is if we could keep the ball long enough to make something of it. We found three different ways to score tonight which shows we are putting ourselves in decent scoring position and hopefully that continues throughout the season," Falor said.
Cleveland State goalkeeper Sarah Wood, who made 11 total saves on the night, made three in the final seven minutes as the Canisius offense kept the pressure on trying for the equalizer. The Golden Griffins had their best chance at a final goal with 5:30 left on the clock, as they were awarded a free kick at the top of the box, which the CSU defense was able to block.
"We have a lot of experienced players on our defensive line, including Freddy (Dubeau) who is one of the talkers of the team and really keeps the defense together. Sarah (Wood) is also able to give us a lot of experience in goal which is something that gives us confidence going into every game," Miller said.
Despite the outcome, Canisius held a 13-6 shots on goal advantage over the Vikings, while the Canisius goalkeeper made three saves during the contest.
Havas had a team-high four shots on the night, while Sivic tallied three and Vidovic posted two.
The Vikings will continue their season opening homestand on Sunday (Aug. 25), when they host Bowling Green at 1:00 p.m.