Women’s soccer gains two 1–0 wins

September 22, 2016 by Scott Shelton, Contributing Writer

Women’s soccer (4–0, 3–0 in the NESCAC) continued its winning streak with two 1–0 wins at home against Colby on Saturday and RPI on Sunday.

“We’re pleased with our results and our evolution of our team thus far,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “I think we have another gear or level in us, though.”

On Saturday, with memories of last year’s 8-0 defeat, the Mules aimed to avenge their loss by shoring up their defensive work at the back. They did so successfully for the better part of an hour.

Although the Mules kept the Ephs at bay for the beginning of the game, eventually a goal from Sarah Kelly ’20 broke the deadlock, forcing the Mules to play catch up for the rest of the contest. The goal started from one of the Ephs’ 13 corner opportunities. Katelyn Long ’19 lofted a cross into the box. After several moments of confusion and attempted clearances, the ball worked its way out of the scrum to Kelly’s feet, who took one touch for control and another to knock a shot past the Mules’ goalie.

The Mules tried to mount a response, but the Ephs shut down the game, barely allowing their competitors  a chance at goal.

The Ephs had a chance for a penalty shortly after the opening goal when co-captain Audrey Thomas ’17 went to ground after a challenge by a Colby defender. However, the referee waved play on.

Ten minutes later, a challenge on Madison Feeney ’19 outside the penalty area was deemed a foul and Natasha Albaneze ’18 just missed the back of the net. Then, Kristi Kirshe ’17 had a chance to put the game to bed.

Feeney blazed down the right flank and expertly picked out the knifing run of Albaneze just inside the penalty area. Albaneze then quickly picked her head up to locate Kirshe and passed the ball back in the senior’s direction.

The Ephs’ leading goal scorer among active players could not quite redirect her shot on target, dragging her attempt wide of the mark.

The game finished 1–0 in favor of the Ephs, continuing the women’s strong start to their season. This game marked the second loss of the season for the Mules.

Although the contest against RPI on Sunday at first seemed like it might be a repeat of last year’s scoreless game, Lu was able to score for her fourth time in five games to break the deadlock. This followed a penality that Thomas won in minute 57. Lu’s goal marked the end of a two-year scoring drought against RPI that amounted to more than 166 minutes.

For the remainder of the game, neither team capitalized on any major scoring chances. The Redhawks next had an opportunity with six minutes left on the clock, but goalie Olivia Barnhill ’19 stopped the shot and secured the Ephs’ lead.

“I think both games this weekend were really helpful for the progress of our team, and they each presented us with different challenges,” co-captain Tressa Palcheck ’17 said.

“It’s tough to stay composed for such long stretches of time, especially when the goals aren’t necessarily coming, but I think that the team did a great job. We’re looking forward to continuing to improve for this upcoming weekend.”

Up next, the Ephs have a six-day break from competition before facing off against archrival Amherst away on Saturday.

The team will continue its play when it travels to Maine on Sunday to play NESCAC opponent Bates. After next weekend, the team will have competed against five NESCAC teams and one non-conference opponent.

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