Ephs open season with pair of victories

Photo courtesy of Sports Information Mai Mitsuyama ’16 tallied a key assist as the women bested Colby 2-0 last Saturday at Cole Field.
Photo courtesy of Sports Information
Mai Mitsuyama ’16 tallied a key assist as the women bested Colby 2-0 last Saturday at Cole Field.

Women’s soccer (2-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) started its season in dominating fashion, sweeping aside Wheaton 3-1 on Sunday afternoon after shutting out Colby with a 2-0 win on Saturday.

The Lyons started the game on Sunday with a goal in an incredible fashion, scoring after just 47 seconds. A sloppy Eph pass was intercepted by Gabriella Verde, who, after a slick series of passes, finished off the move by slotting the ball past goalkeeper and tri-captain Hannah Van Wetter ’15 and into the back of the net.

The women then hunkered down on defense, shutting the door on a few more attacks by Wheaton. In the sixth minute, a counterattack led by Audrey Thomas ’17 nearly produced a goal. Thomas found Mai Mitsuyama ’16, who in turn slid a through ball into Kristi Kirshe ’17. Kirshe’s shot rattled the left post before Lyons’ keeper Taylor Wilson fell on the rebound.

Less than a minute later, Thomas tied the score. Maddie Swarr ’17 sent a beautiful cross into the box, and Thomas chipped the ball over Wilson’s head and into the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

Both teams had additional chances, including a free kick from Katie Wardlaw ’17 that forced a nice save from Wilson. However, neither the Ephs nor the Lyons could find the back of the net again, and the score remained level at the half. The second half started slowly, with both teams failing to create solid scoring opportunities. Van Wetter was forced into a save in the 60th minute after a long distance shot from a Lyons attacker. The ball was dipping, but Van Wetter easily pushed it over the crossbar.

In the 80th minute, Head Coach Michelyne Pinard put Kirshe, Mitsuyama and Thomas back on the field. Immediately, Thomas made a blistering run down the right flank, playing a ball that found its way to Kirshe, who smashed the ball home to give the Ephs a 2-1 lead. In the 84th minute, Kirshe scored her second goal of the game in very similar fashion. Kirshe latched on to another gorgeous cross from Thomas, but Wilson stuck out a leg to make the save. However, Kirshe was quick to follow up on the rebound, tapping the ball home into an empty net to round off the scoring and complete a 3-1 victory for the Ephs.

Kirshe took 12 shots on the day, four of which were on target. Van Wetter made two saves.

On Saturday morning, the women took on Colby at Cole Field in their season opener. The Ephs immediately jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Thomas ran onto the end of a cross from Swarr to blast the ball into the back of the net with a little help from the left post.

The Mules didn’t let the goal get the better of them and attempted to fight back but did not trouble Van Wetter as they failed to get a shot on target. In the 27th minute, Mitsuyama played a brilliant through ball to Dani Sim ’18, who found herself one-on-one with Emily Brook, the Mules’ goalkeeper. Brook, however, made an impressive save to keep the Ephs’ lead at one. Brook made a series of nice saves before halftime to keep the Mules in the game, and the score at halftime was still 1-0.

The Ephs came out of the break fired up, with Thomas almost doubling the lead with a looping header off a cross by Kirshe, but her header went just wide. Minutes later, Mitsuyama played another brilliant ball to Kirshe, who was one-on-one with Brook but failed to convert the chance.

Kirshe finally found the back of the net in the 52nd minute. Mitsuyama forced Brook into another great save, but Kirshe tapped the rebound home to make the score 2-0. Thomas had a one-on-one chance moments later, but Brook once again made a nice save. The Ephs’ unrelenting attack continued, but Brook continued her excellent game to keep the score at 2-0.

Van Wetter recorded her first clean sheet of the season and did not have to make a single save in the match. Brook made 14. Williams recorded 26 shots on goal, while Colby had zero.

“We are really happy with our results this weekend, but humbly recognize that we have much to work on,” co-captain Hana Tomozawa ’15 said. “We’re really excited about what we can do this year, and are very up to the challenge of putting in the required work to get to our best level of soccer.”

Up next, the women host Trinity on Saturday at noon. On Sunday, they face MIT at home at 1 p.m.