Allison Smalling / ERAU Athletics
The top-ranked Embry-Riddle women’s soccer team will be making its fourth straight trip to the national tournament final site when play in the 31st Annual NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship presented by the Sports Medicine Center at the Orthopedic Group, P.C. resumes on Dec. 1. The Eagles advanced courtesy of a 5-1 defeat of Reinhardt in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, Saturday at the Embry-Riddle Soccer Stadium.
The ERAU Eagles (17-1) were led by their top scorer Andrea Froshaug who, for the second year in a row, scored two goals against Reinhardt in Opening Round play. The Blue and Gold will face Hastings in the round of 16 at 1:30 p.m. (CST) on Dec. 1 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. Hastings registered a 1-0 upset of Olivet Nazarene to advance.
Embry-Riddle got off to a furious start, scoring early and often and recording the first three goals in the first 8:34 of the contest. The first score came In the fourth minute when Emmie Johansson completed a short pass to Froshuag making the diagonal run and Froshuag powered past her marker before slotting home her 14th goal of the year to give ERAU the early lead on the first shot of the evening.
Less than 40 seconds later, the Blue and Gold struck again. This time it was Isabelle Haaranen who found an opening on the right side and dribbled into a 1-v-1 situation with Reinhardt goalkeeper Taylor Asher before depositing her 12th goal of the season in the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Katherine Ebbs sent a corner kick to the far post where it was settled and finished by Helena Hansson for a 3-0 ERAU lead.
“Overall, we were pretty pleased, especially with the start,” ERAU Head Coach Samantha Bohon stated. “We knew that the start was going to be really important for us tonight and we put a special emphasis on that and to score three goals in the first nine minutes, I think that was outstanding.”
As the half progressed, the Embry-Riddle Eagles found themselves with plenty of room to work in the midfield and, as a result, dominated the possession. The constant pressure paid off again in the 41st minute when Haaranen took the ball into the right corner before sending a cross to the top of the 18-yard box. An unmarked Khyla Brangman collected the pass and hit the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to give the home team a 4-0 advantage at the half.
The start of the second frame saw Reinhardt take away some of the space in the midfield, but Embry-Riddle continued to pressure the Reinhardt defense and the effort paid off in the 60th minute. Playing on the right side, Froshuag, whose pace proved difficult for Reinhardt to handle throughout the contest, outmatched her defender and raced into the box where she made a shot from a difficult angle look easy by rocketing her 15th goal of the year across the goal into the upper 90 on the far side to cap the Eagles’ scoring.
As the half progressed, the Reinhardt Lady Eagles began to enjoy a little possession and mount a few attacks of their own. Their efforts paid off in the 82nd minute with Megan McCall found the back of the net to help Reinhardt avoid the shutout and break ERAU’s streak of 451 minutes without allowing a goal.
“One of the things I loved about our goals was that they were all very different,” Bohon observed. “They weren’t predictable; different players were scoring and I think that’s going to be an important factor for us if we want to try and advance deep into nationals. We had some really good stretches today. We fell off a little bit at the end and let in that late goal, but overall, I was pretty happy with the performance, especially with having two and a half weeks off after our last game.”
“We look forward to going to Orange Beach. We’re excited to be able to return there in our last year in the NAIA and we know Hastings will be a good game that we have to make sure we’re ready for.”