Women’s soccer remains undefeated

September 28, 2016 by Scott Shelton, Staff Writer

Women’s soccer (6–0–1, 4–0–1 in the NESCAC) ended its longest road trip of the regular season by tying Amherst 1–1 and defeating Bates 2–0.

On Sunday, the women came back from the tie against Amherst to put away another contest against a NESCAC opponent: Bates.

Alison Lu ’20 scored her fifth goal of the season just after the 33-minute mark. A Bobcat defender touched an attempted pass by Kristina Alvarado ’19, but the deflection fell to Kristi Kirshe ’17 just outside the top of the 18-yard–box. Kirshe dinked the ball over her defender’s head to Lu, who took one touch with her head to control and then another with her foot to poke the ball past the Bobcat goalie and into the net.

The Ephs amped up the pressure on the Bobcat goalie in the second half of the game. After several opportunities, Kirshe finally put one over the line in a reversal of roles from the Ephs’ first goal. Lu drove at the Bobcat defense before slipping Kirshe a pass that she placed just under the Bobcat goalie’s arms and into the net. The Ephs finished the game with a two-goal lead.

“Sunday was a different kind of challenge,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “Traveling to Maine after playing Amherst isn’t easy.  It takes a toll on your body and I think that showed early in the game against Bates. That and the windy conditions meant that we struggled to get an attacking rhythm because we had a hard time making sure our first touch was clean and passes crisp.  It was another situation where the team could have panicked and/or started to get frustrated, but we focused on continuing to work, compete and grind it out.  Sometimes games are a grind and today was a good example.”

Williams entered the competition on Saturday with a perfect 5–0 record, while Amherst tried to bounce back from losing twice in the span of a week. At the end of the day, neither side claimed victory; a first-minute strike from Amherst’s Hannah Guzzi was canceled out by a second-half goal by Alvarado.

Guzzi ran down a ball on the right side of the Ephs’ defense and shimmied her way past Katelyn Long ’19 to chip the ball over the arms of goalie Olivia Barnhill ’19.

After this first goal, the Ephs dominated the possession and major statistics but reaped no reward for their efforts.

In the second half, one of the women’s 22 shots made its way past Amherst’s goalie to put Williams on the board. Alvarado slipped through the Amherst back line after an attempted clear, and Lu was able to intercept the ball and pass it to her teammate, who placed the ball to the keeper’s right in the net.

In overtime, the Ephs had a few chances to produce a game-winning goal. In minute 105, Jacqueline Simeone ’18 fought hard down the left side of the Amherst defense and eventually found enough space to pick out a cross to the near post. Anticipating the pass, Kirshe was first to the ball, but the Amherst goalie closed down the angle and made a crucial save.

With time slipping away in minute 109, Danielle Sim ’18 put in a goal-saving tackle on an Amherst attacker. The Amherst player caught her defender wrong-footed and blazed past her in an attempt to run down the ball down for a goal. Sim, reading the play, used her speed to run down the Amherst player before she could test Barnhill.

Sim’s second crucial intervention of the day was more or less the end of the afternoon’s proceedings. The few boots forward in the final minute of play came to nothing for either side.

“The Amherst game took a lot out of us; it was demanding both physically and emotionally. We were disappointed to go down so early against them, but the toughness, resiliency and sense of team that showed after that very early goal was encouraging and I think set the stage with how we will deal with obstacles, setbacks and challenges down the road.  Very proud of the team to [have] battled back on Saturday,” Pinard said.

“We still created chances that will hopefully start to fall more consistently, but overall, we’re glad to get through this tough weekend of travel and excited to move onto Conn. on Saturday.”

With the victory, the women returned to their winning form and also managed to score multiple goals in a game for the first time in two weeks, a positive sign. The women look next to their contest against NESCAC opponent Conn. College Saturday.

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