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Boyds, Md. (April 4, 2015) – The Washington Spirit closed out preseason with a 1-0 victory over the University of North Carolina on Saturday evening at Maureen Hendricks Field.
The Spirit came into the game looking to bounce back from a narrow 1-0 defeat last week to the University of Virginia. Accordingly, the Spirit started the game aggressively, spending a considerable amount of time in the attacking half of the field.
In the eighth minute Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys sent a booming kick down the middle of the field to forward Estefania Banini. Banini took control of the ball about 40 yards from goal then evaded multiple defenders before dribbling forward and rocketing her shot past UNC goalkeeper Lindsey Harris.
UNC mustered a couple of solid chances early in the game. In the 13th minute Sarah Ashley Firstenberg broke free in the midfield and looked like she was headed to take on the keeper 1v1, but then decided to catch her off her line by chipping it forward. Firstenberg’s effort went wide right.
UNC nearly equalized in the 43rd minute when Jo Boyles took a shot from distance, which bounced off the crossbar and back over the goal.
To start the second half, both sides took a bit of time to settle and contended for the ball primarily in midfield. Midfielder Angela Salem took the first corner of the second half for the Spirit in the 69th minute. She played it short to Banini who launched the ball into the box for center back Megan Oyster who rose to head it on, but couldn’t connect.
In the 75th minute midfielder Joanna Lohman sent a short pass from the top of the box to Laura del Rio just in front of the six yard box. Del Rio took a couple of touches before shooting at the far post, but Harris managed an impressive reaction save to keep the score at 1-0.
Del Rio got another dangerous opportunity just two minutes later after receiving the ball at the top of the box from Banini. Del Rio sent in a well struck shot directly at Harris who saved easily.
Neither side found a goal before the final whistle blew and the match concluded 1-0 in favor of the Spirit thanks to Banini’s goal in the 8th minute.
The Washington Spirit will begin its 2015 season on the road facing the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday, April 10. The Spirit will make its home debut against FC Kansas City at Maureen Hendricks Field the following weekend on Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m.
Washington Spirit Lineup
Kelsey Wys (Che Brown 45’), Katherine Reynolds, Megan Oyster, Estelle Johnson, (Whitney Church 63’), Christine Nairn (Angela Salem 63’), Joanna Lohman, Tori Huster, Amanda Da Costa (Caprice Dydasco 45’), Estefania Banini, Laura del Rio
University of North Carolina Lineup
Lindsey Harris, Emily Bruder (Alex Kimball 27’), Maya Worth, Jo Boyles (Adeline Lust 84’), Darcy McFarlane, Jessie Scarpa, Danae O’Halloran (Amber Munerlyn 27’, Jenny Chiu 72’), Megan Buckingham, Cameron Castleberry, Paige Nielson, Sarah Ashley Firstenberg (Annie Kingman 35’)
GOALS 1 2 F
University of North Carolina 0 0 0
Washington Spirit 1 0 1
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 8 Washington Spirit Estefania Banini –
CAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS
Time Team ## Player Card Reason
86 UNC 21 Cameron Castleberry Yellow Reckless Foul
88 Spirit 2 Katherine Reynolds Yellow Reckless Foul