ANKENY, Iowa—The last time the women's soccer team played on their home turf was the regional championship game in 2019—a game that ended with pure joy and celebration, with the entire student section spilling onto the field after a dramatic win on a penalty kick shootout. Friday's 2020 home debut was full of drama, but didn't end the way the Eagles wanted it to with a 3-2 overtime loss to Grace Christian.
Grace Christian University made the trip all the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a rematch of last year's national semifinal, a game which Grace dominated from start to finish. The good news for Faith, even in the loss, was that the Eagles seemed to be in control for most of Friday's game which featured a steady rain throughout much of the afternoon. Despite the weather conditions, a great crowd was on hand to cheer on the Lady Eagles.
After falling behind 1-0 on an early penalty kick in the box, the Eagles dominated possession throughout the game. With several golden opportunities to score, the ball struggled to find the net.
Faith's first goal came on a gorgeous drive by defender Karina Fritz, who dribbled the ball from beyond midfield, faked out multiple Tigers defenders, and launched a perfect shot from about 25 yards out into the corner of the net. That was the only score for Faith in the first half as the offense has struggled to find its identity after losing their all-time leading scorer (Lyndi Shepard) from last year. The only goal Faith allowed in the first half was the penalty kick.
The Eagles were the dominant aggressor throughout most of the second half, just missing on several fast break opportunities. Faith finished with 12 shots on goal compared to Grace's 7. The Eagles took the lead with 20 minutes to play after a corner kick bounced off a Tigers defender into the goal. As the clock wound down under ten minutes, it looked like Faith was a lock to secure the victory, but Grace Christian's Aubrey Bristol curved a long shot into the corner of the net with just 3:41 left to tie the game.
Faith had another fast break opportunity that came up just short in the final seconds of regulation and Grace wasted no time in overtime as Bristol ended the game on another nice play for the Tigers.
Coach Zack Barron said the team is displaying great character, despite back-to-back close losses to start the season. With a couple of different bounces, the Eagles could easily be 2-0. With the loss, the Eagles fell to 0-2 and face an extremely talented Waldorf team on the road on Thursday at 6 p.m.