LYNCHBURG, Va. - A year ago, Bridgewater earned its first point in the program's history against Lynchburg when the Eagles battled the Hornets to a 0-0 draw during the regular season.
Wednesday evening in Lynchburg, the Eagles picked up their first win ever over the Hornets with a 1-0 victory in a key late-season ODAC contest..
Lynchburg entered Wednesday's contest ranked No. 21 in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches Division III Top 25. The Hornets were fourth in the South Atlantic regional rankings.
The Eagles scored the game's only goal late in the first half when Keri Rager sent a ball from the left side across the box to the far post and Bailey Kratz took the ball out of the air and volleyed it past the keeper for a 1-0 Bridgewater lead.
"The girls came out tonight and executed the game plan from the start," head coach Mike Van Horn said. "I think the first half was pretty evenly played. We defended and then we countered. Keri sent a great cross into the box and Bailey worked to get herself in position and then finished the shot."
In recent games against quality teams the Eagles had trouble holding on to leads in the second half. Bridgewater scored first in the contest against Virginia Wesleyan, but the Marlins tied the game with a late goal and then won in overtime. The Eagles led 2-0 at half against Washington and Lee, but the Generals rallied to tie the score. Bridgewater avoided overtime when Isabella Krider scored in the final minute to give the Eagles the 3-2 victory.
"The girls gutted this one out," said Van Horn. "We had given up the lead in the second half a couple times in recent games, but I think the girls learned their lesson from those games. They hung in there tonight and finished."
After holding a slim 7-5 edge in shots in the first half, Lynchburg outshot the Eagles 14-1 in the second half. Only three of the 14 shots, however, were on goal.
Bridgewater keeper Hayley Talbott recorded five saves to earn her fifth shutout of the season. The shutout was the 10th this season for the Eagles. Lynchburg goalkeeper Delia LoSapio finished with two saves.
Bridgewater is now 14-3-1 overall and the Hornets are 14-3. Both teams are 7-2 in the ODAC.
The Eagles close out the regular season Saturday when they host Roanoke College on Senior Day. Game time is 3:00 p.m.