Out of the last four meetings with Saginaw Valley, the Bulldog soccer team has tied the Cardinals three times in regulation, adding another 1-1 draw last Friday, Sept. 30.
The last time the Bulldogs took the field against SVSU was over ten months ago in the opening round of the NCAA National Tournament. The 0-0 stalemate ended in a heartbreaking loss in penalty kicks for Ferris, ending one of the program’s best seasons they have ever had. However, a shot at redemption was on the table coming into last week’s game.
Despite an impressive performance on the offensive side in the first half, a slow start to the second half negated the pressure that the Bulldogs had built. With 19 shots in total for Ferris, only three of those were on frame, ushering head coach Greg Henson to have the team focus on quality over quantity when it comes to getting shots off. Saginaw Valley tested goalkeeper Darya Mossalaei with six shots on goal and 13 shots in total.
“ [It’s] kind of a tale of two halves. I thought we were on the front foot and really went at them in the first half,” Henson said. “[Saginaw Valley] made a little bit of a tactical adjustment and we didn’t handle that well at the beginning.”
The crowd of 400 was greeted early with a Bulldog goal by senior Isabella Zamborini. At 5:55, Lindsay Cole sent a pass to Zamborini, who cut back to the inside for a shot to the bottom left corner. It was her team-leading fifth goal this season.
The two teams traded offensive chances for the rest of the first half. Ferris had seven corner kicks in the first half, but they didn’t find the back of the net on any of those chances. Corner kick struggles have been an issue for the Bulldogs as they have only scored one goal out of 52 corner kicks in their 2022 campaign.
“We get caught up a little bit playing too direct at times,” Henson said. “So we have to be able to mix and match and keep the ball.”
SVSU had a number of chances, but it was not until the midpoint of the second half where they capitalized on an opportunity. Forward Stephanie Strong received a bouncing ball on the breakaway and chipped it over the head of Mossalaei at 69:59 to tie up the game 1-1.
Although the Bulldogs had a late game flurry of shots, the Cardinals stood strong to end the contest squared up at one goal apiece. With the tie, Ferris moved to 4-3-3 on the season hoping to make a push for the second half of the season.