|Impact vs Piranhas, May 11|
By Tom Leiss
For Fredericksburg Impact: www.fasaimpact.com
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.—Things got off to a great start for the visiting Fredericksburg Impact in Saturday night’s season opener against the Virginia Beach Piranhas at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. Unfortunately, the hosts were able to rally and then hang on late for a 2-1 W-League victory.
Fredericksburg (0-1-0) earned a corner kick shortly after kickoff and Kara Blosser leapt high and strongly headed home Kimmy Cummings’ cross to put the Impact up 1-0 under five minutes into the game.
However, the Piranhas (1-0-0) took advantage of a couple early-season miscues to take the lead.
Forward Shan Jones barely got one into the net off the outstretched hand of Fredericksburg goalie Melissa Pacheco in the ninth minute to level the match. Esther Anyanwu then finished off a 2-on-1 break in the 29th minute to put Virginia Beach on top 2-1.
The very entertaining game continued under wet and rainy condition, often with lightning flashing in the distance, until the 67th minute when the game was stopped due to the weather conditions.
After a nearly two-hour delay, the teams returned to the field to cheers from the sparse crowd that still remained.
The Impact showed a lot of energy when play restarted and looked to have leveled the match in the 82nd minute.
Left back Sarah Karlik played a nice ball over top of the Piranhas’ defense to Blosser. The midfielder slotted a shot past Virginia Beach goalie Lauren Vetock only to see the apparent tying score get waived off due to an offside call.
The visitors were unfazed and continued pressing, and were inches from netting the tying goal they were seeking in the 85th minute.
Chelsey Haney beat a Piranhas’ defender to a though ball and slipped a shot past a sliding Vetock, only to see the ball roll agonizingly wide of the left post.
Although disappointed in the final score, Fredericksburg coach Rich Stoneman was pleased with the potential he saw from his side—which had two high schoolers see action on Saturday.
“I think for our first outing we saw some things to build on,” the first-year coach said. “We were young and we had our chances, just didn’t finish. That’s all we have to do moving forward.”
The Impact will continue their three-game road trip to start the season next weekend when they travel to New York.
On Saturday, they take on the Long Island Rough Riders, at 5 p.m., at Cy Donnelly Stadium, before facing the New York Magic on Sunday, at 2 p.m., at Old Boys High School Stadium.
FR – Kara Blosser (Kimmy Cummings) 5th
VB – Shan Jones 9th
VB – Esther Anysnwu (Yasmin Bunter) 29th
Shots: Fredericksburg 11 (Cummings 3). Virginia Beach 16 (Anyanwu 7).
SOG: Fredericksburg 5 (Cummings 2). Virginia Beach 5 (Jones 2).
Saves: Fredericksburg 3 (Pacheco). Virginia Beach 4 (Vetock).
Goal Kicks: Fredericksburg 11. Virginia Beach 8.
Corners: Fredericksburg 3. Virginia Beach 0.
Fouls: Fredericksburg 9. Virginia Beach 9.
Offside: Fredericksburg 5. Virginia Beach 3.
FR – Kara Blosser 65th
VB – Linda Chukwuji 88th
VB – Jessica Kalonji 89th