American Fends Off Late Charge to Down Longwood 2-1

Published 2:15 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

Buoyed by first-half goals from Tate Jordan and Fisayo Iluyomade, American withstood a furious second half from the Longwood Women’s Soccer team to outlast the Lancers 2-1 Thursday night at the Longwood Athletics Complex.

Jordan and Iluyomade’s goals came within five minutes of each other late in the first half to give the Patriots (1-2-0) a 2-0 lead by the 38th minute. Longwood junior Gabby Young responded shortly after Iluyomade’s strike to make it a 2-1 game, but American’s defense held strong the rest of the way and fended off a high-pressure Lancer attack in the closing minutes to spoil the Lancers’ home opener.

Longwood (0-3-0) created multiple chances throughout, including an Alex Dinger shot that careened off the post early in the first half and an Ava Davis attempt that Patriot goalkeeper Julia Kato deflected in the 71st minute, but American’s backline held strong to the whistle. That game-saving effort saw the Patriots fend off four Longwood shots in the final 20 minutes, defend two corner kicks in the final 60 seconds, and emerge unscathed from an end-game scrum that took place less than 20 feet in front of the net.

“That was a tale of two halves,” said Longwood head coach Todd Dyer. “We dug ourselves a hole in the first half allowing the two goals with some sloppy defending, but we kept ourselves in the game getting that goal back right before the half.

“In the second half we played with the urgency we need to show to get on top of our opponents early in games. We continue to learn some tough lessons, but we also continue to be optimistic and motivated to keep working at this in order to earn the results we believe we’re capable of.”

Both of American’s goals came on breakaways set up by passes that dissected the Lancer backfield. Iluyomade created the first of those by feeding Tate from just outside the penalty box, and Tate finished off a one-on-one showdown with Longwood goalkeeper Mary Kate Levush with a right-footed strike inside the near post. Iluyomade got rewarded with her own breakaway minutes later when Emily Smith lofted a pass from American’s own territory, which Iluyomade chased down and finished off for a 2-0 lead.

Longwood responded in quick fashion 47 seconds later to cut the deficit to 2-1, thanks to a free kick from 30 yards that Catharine Forst put on target, Kato bobbled, and Young finished off for her first career goal. However, that would be the first of only two shots on goal American allowed, the last of which Kato deflected at close range in the 71st minute.

The loss drops the Lancers to 0-3-0 for the first time since a 2016 season that saw them bounce back in Big South play to the tune of a 5-3-1 league record and a trip to the Big South semifinals. Their next shot to get in the win column comes this Sunday, Aug. 29, when they take on Commonwealth rival Richmond at 4 p.m. in Richmond.