PHILADELPHIA — Two first-half goals for host La Salle set the tone as the defending Atlantic 10 champion Explorers claimed a 3-0 win over the St. Bonaventure women's soccer team Thursday night in rainy Philadelphia.
La Salle came into the match 6-4-1, and were one of the favorites to take the A-10 crown at the start of the season, picked second after winning last year's conference tournament.
But the Bonnies were able to put the pressure on early. In the 12th minute, Mariah Marrero—thanks to a great feed inside the box — had a one-on-one shot at Explorers goalkeeper Claudia Jenkins, but Jenkins was able to deny Marrero to keep things scoreless.
Despite the missed opportunity to go up early, the Bonnies still had life thanks to an ensuing corner kick by Bella May. The junior curved a beauty in front of the net that found the head of Sabrina Sousa-Sampson, but the header effort clanked off the post and kept the match scoreless.
Those shots were two of five for the Bonnies in the first 13 minutes of the match, who at the time were outshooting the Explorers 5-2.
However, the talented Explorers team wouldn't stay off the scoreboard for long.
In the 31st minute, Molly O'Brien—off assists from Jess Shanahan and Madison Bower—found the back of the net to break the scoreless tie. It was O'Brien's fourth of the season.
Just four minutes later, La Salle struck again, this time it was their leading scorer Madison Bower who notched her seventh goal of the season, assisted by O'Brien.
O'Brien was far from finished on the night. She tallied another score in the 61st minute, again off the assist from Shannan, and ended her night with five points.
For the Bonnies, goalkeeper Lauren Malcolm collected seven saves to bring her season total to 97. Marrero led the team with three shots and Gretta LaCouture and Sydney Cerza each added two of their own as the Bonnies fired 10 shots in total.
St. Bonaventure returns home for a matchup on Sunday against Fordham. The Rams are 7-5 on the season but started out A-10 an impressive 4-0.
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