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Paced by Argentinian Forward Estefania Banini’s brace, the Washington Spirit earned a 3-0 win over the University of Virginia tonight at Maureen Hendricks Field in the first competitive match of the historic fourth NWSL preseason. Banini only needed 15 minutes to work her magic in what was her first game action since an injury forced her out for the 2015 season after just four games.
In the third minute, the Spirit jumped to a quick lead with a goal by Banini. UVA had their first strong attempt after winning a corner kick in the 11th minute when a short ball was cleared by Estelle Johnson, but quickly won back. However, the following offensive pass was called offside.
Banini earned her second goal of the game at the 15-minute mark, when a ball drilled toward the goal by Christine Nairn became loose in the box after a deflection by UVA goalkeeper Morgan Stearns.
In the 17th minute Virginia’s Veronica Latsko ran the ball into the penalty box, challenging Estelle Johnson one-on-one. Johnson was able to gain control of the ball, but Alexis Shaffer won it back for Virginia. Kelsey Wys went on to block Shaffer’s attempted shot.
The second period of the match was very eventful for the Spirit. The 35th minute saw a great attack when Ali Krieger set up a through ball to Crystal Dunn in the midfield. However, Dunn’s hopeful pass to Stengel was a bit long and found the waiting feet of Stearns.
At the 37th minute Cali Farquharson earned the Spirit’s first corner kick. The shot played in was cleared but won back and tapped into the back of the net by Katie Stengel. Shortly thereafter, in the 39th minute, UVA won a corner when a driven shot was blocked by Wys and sent into side netting. Both teams earned a series of corner kicks, the Spirit with four and UVA with two, although set pieces proved futile in advancing either team.
The Spirit eased their pressure in the third period, allowing UVA several promising runs and an opportunity to increase their pressure and control. In the 77th minute Wys was forced off her line to clear a long pass that had potential. No goals were scored in the final period of the match. Strong performances by both teams’ defensive lines proved effective in preventing potential offensive attacks.
The Washington Spirit will continue their series of preseason games at home next Saturday, March 26th, against Penn State at 4pm.
Washington Spirit Lineup: Caprice Dydasco (60’ Kleiner ), Megan Oyster ( 60’ Johnson), Whitney Church (31’ Joanna Lohman), Christine Nairn (60’ Murphy), Katie Stengel (60’ Ordega), Kelsey Wys, Crystal Dunn (60’ Raso), Cheyna Williams (31’ Farquharson, 60’ Weimer), Alyssa Kleiner (31’ Ali Krieger), Estelle Johnson (31’ Fiebernitz), Estefi Banini (31’ Aedo, 60’ Wilson)
University of Virginia Lineup: Morgan Stearns (60’ Kilgore), Megan Reid, Megan Cox, Kristen McNabb, Courtney Petersen (46’ Madsen), Alexis Shaffer, Veronca Latsko (75’ Sargeant), Tina Jordanou (30’ Wright), Olivia Hazelrigg (30’ Sutton), Lorato Sargeant (30’ Adu), Brianna Westrup (30’ Ziemer)
GOALS 1 2 3 F
Washington Spirit 2 1 0 3
University of Virginia 0 0 0 0
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 3 Spirit Estefi Banini Katie Stengel
2 15 Spirit Estefi Banini
3 38 Spirit Katie Stengel Christine Nairn
CAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS
Time Team ## Player Card Reason