Last Saturday, women’s soccer (3-1-2, NESCAC 2-1-1) faced off against conference rival Conn. College (2-2-2, NESCAC 0-2-1) and prevailed by a score of 1-0. The game-winning goal came in the second half by way of Audrey Thomas ’17 in the 65th minute.
From the very outset of the game, the Ephs proved to be the ones threatening for a goal. In just the second minute, a series of good possessions down the left flank allowed Alison Magruder ’15 time to swing the ball into the box where Hana Tomozawa ’15 was waiting to head the ball toward goal. However, Tomozawa’s shot floated just over the crossbar.
The women’s fast start did not stop there, as they dominated possession and continued to look dangerous in the first half. The Ephs had another good chance just inside 10 minutes remaining in the half when the Camels conceded a free kick in the midfield. Mai Mitsuyama ’16 took the ensuing free kick, lofting it into the box, where it rolled around and almost connected with the foot of an Eph. However, Camel goalkeeper Bella Hall dove on it before the Ephs could open scoring.
The Conn. College offense had its moments in the first half. Mere minutes after Mitsuyama’s free kick, the Camels created a golden opportunity to open the scoring themselves. Rebecca Raymond found herself with the time to slip the ball between the Eph centerbacks, attempting to connect with Camel teammate Annie Higgins. Higgins was milliseconds away from connecting with the ball to break open the scoreless game when the rushing goalkeeper Hannah Van Wetter ’15 beat her to the ball to ensure the game remained scoreless.
With memories of the draw to rival Amherst on Sept. 21 in mind, the women came out in the second half firing on all cylinders. In the sixth minute of the second half, the women once again found themselves in a position to break the deadlock. Alex McInturf ’15 sent a perfectly weighted pass from just outside the Camel penalty area toward Magruder, who hit a beautiful low shot toward the right corner of the goal that was saved marvelously by Hall to once again keep the Ephs off the scoreboard.
Hall could only keep the Ephs at bay so long, however, as they scored only 15 minutes later. In the 65th minute, Thomas made a knifing run through a Camel backline that had played spectacularly thus far in the game and found herself one-on-one with the keeper after she received a beautiful through ball out of the midfield from Mitsuyama. Thomas received the ball, dribbled to the top of the Camel penalty area and fired a beautiful curling shot that notched in the top-left corner of the Camel goal, leaving Hall no chance to keep the Ephs off the scoreboard.
A combination of back-and-forth play kept the last 25 minutes of the game interesting, but a tight Eph defensive line ensured that the 1-0 lead survived the dying moments.
“Playing well-organized teams that just take the space away and don’t really attack is challenging because it is hard to get behind them,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “I’m very proud of our team in their resilience and patience. We made a few adjustments at halftime that allowed us to take advantage of the space they were giving us, and I thought it made us more dangerous.”
“So many players stepped up [last] weekend,” Pinard said. “I think our backs have gone under the radar with regard to all that they are providing the team. Not only are they defending well, but they are starting our attack as well.”
The Ephs’ control of possession was reflected on the stat sheet, with the Ephs taking 14 shots, six of them on goal, to the Camels’ four shots with only one on goal. Conn. College had the advantage in corners over the women by seven corners to three, but it also had eight fouls to the women’s four.
The Ephs have two games this coming week. The first is today against Springfield at 4 p.m., and the second is on Saturday against Farmingdale at 1:30 p.m. Both games are at home on Cole Field.