Ephs secure 1-0 thriller over Cardinals

Hanna Kaeser ’18 had three shots, two of which were on goal, against MIT at home on Oct. 11. Photo Courtesy of Sports Information
Hanna Kaeser ’18 had three shots, two of which were on goal, against MIT at home on Oct. 11. Photo Courtesy of Sports Information

Women’s soccer (12-0-1, 8-0 in the NESCAC) continued its undefeated season by beating Wesleyan in double overtime on Saturday by a score of 1-0. Kristi Kirshe ’17 blasted the game-winning goal in the 13th minute of overtime to hand the Ephs the victory.

The Ephs had the first chance of the game when Natalie Turner-Wyatt ’19 sent a long ball over the top trying to pick out the foot of Kirshe, but Kirshe could not quite connect with the ball to volley it past the Wesleyan keeper. Later on in the half, Katie Wardlaw ’17 had a deflected shot fall kindly to her feet about 15 yards out from goal, but she knocked her effort well over the Cardinal crossbar.

The second half story was slightly different, as the Cardinals began to see more of the ball and ultimately forced Eph keeper Tressa Palcheck ’17 into action on three separate occasions. The Ephs had the first chance, however, as Kirshe put the ball in the back of the Cardinals’ net after she ran onto a threaded through ball from co-captain Mai Mitsuyama ’16, only for it to be ruled out, as the assistant referee had his flag up for offsides.

Possibly lifted by the offsides decision, the Cardinals went on the offensive, managing to accrue three corners in quick succession that saw Isabel Clements and Madeline Keane send several shots toward Palcheck. The Ephs’ keeper, however, was up for each effort that the Cardinal duo managed to put on target.

In the final twenty minutes of the game, the Ephs ramped up their attacking game, as Hannah Kaeser ’17 made a probing run down the right before sending a cross into the near post looking for Katelyn Long ’19, but the first year mistimed her close-range shot and managed to hit it wide of the Cardinals’ right post.

With overtime looming, the Ephs threw numbers forward to try and find a regular-time winner, but to no avail, as the Cardinals remained resolute in defense. The combination of Kirshe, Mitsuyama and Maddie Swarr ’17 was looking to create something but was kept out well by the stout Wesleyan defense. However, once overtime began, everything fell in favor of the Ephs.

About halfway through the first period of overtime, Kristina Alvarado ’19 raced Cardinal keeper, Meghan Hanan, to a ball, losing by only the smallest fraction. However, Hanan’s clearance ricocheted off Kirshe, who was making a late run into the box, causing everyone to hold their breaths until it became clear that the deflected ball wasn’t going to find the back of the Cardinal net.

Just before the halftime break of overtime, Kirshe put the Cardinals on notice for her eventual game-winner, as she pulled up from just over 20 yards to attempt a chip over Hanan. Thankfully for the Cardinals, though, Kirshe’s lifted effort did not dip quite enough, only managing to find the top netting of the goal.

Just over two minutes after the overtime restart, however, Kirshe bagged her ninth goal of the season, and third in two games, to give the Ephs a hard-won victory. Alvarado worked her way down the right touchline before squaring for Kirshe on the right side of the Cardinal penalty area. With a touch to control and another to turn and create space, Kirshe only needed one more to rifle an effort past Hanan and finally break the will of the Cardinal keeper. With the goal, the women earned their eighth NESCAC victory.

On Oct. 14, Williams took on Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, NY. Kirshe scored a goal in each half to lead Williams to a 2-0 victory.

The women wasted no time establishing a presence, jumping out to a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game on Kirshe’s seventh goal of the season. Kirshe delivered a ball behind the Skidmore defense, picking out Audrey Thomas ’17, and continued her run to the penalty spot unmarked. Thomas then slid the ball back across the face of goal, finding Kirshe for the finish into the empty net. Kirshe scored again to put the Ephs up 2-0 and the women held Skidmore to a single shot over the final 34 minutes, securing their eighth shutout of the season and their sixth in the last seven games.

On Oct. 11, Williams defeated MIT 2-1 on Cole Field. After a slow start from both teams, the Ephs began to work their way into the contest after the first quarter of an hour. The opening goal came not from an attacker, but a defender, as Gabz Amos-Grosser ’17 surged up the field in the 22nd minute, before playing a quick give-and-go with Thomas. This created enough space for Amos-Grosser to thump a shot past the MIT keeper from close range for her first career collegiate goal.

Williams’ second goal came from Thomas, who ran onto a beautiful through ball from Kirshe. Although MIT scored late in the second half, Williams maintained the lead and came away victorious.

Williams also played RPI on Oct. 10, a game that handed Williams its only non-winning game of the season as the women came away with a 0-0 tie.

The women find great joy in their undefeated season. “Playing Wesleyan on their field is always a challenge because they really play with energy at home,” co-captain Zoe Trutner ’16 said. “We knew this going in and wanted to control the tempo of the game but were frustrated not to score in regulation. Regardless, Kirshe’s goal was beautiful and we were pumped to win the Little Three Championship for the regular season.”

The women host Tufts this Saturday. The game is set to kickoff at 1:30 p.m, with senior day proceedings to take place before the game.

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