Women’s soccer (8–0–1, 5–0–1 in the NESCAC) kicked off its second-straight weekend of away games last Saturday morning, recording an important 1–0 victory over NESCAC foe Conn. College and an 8––0 win against Castleton on Sunday.
Both teams entered the wet and windy afternoon contest undefeated thus far this season. The Camels had achieved a perfect seven wins from seven games, and the Ephs had won six games and tied one. Thanks to a goal by forward Kristi Kirshe ’17, marking her third of the season, and the Eph defense’s sixth clean sheet of the year, the Ephs emerged victorious.
“It was a great weekend for us given how taxing our schedule has been with regard to travel,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “Conn. is a great team, and they forced us to defend more than we’ve had to, so that was a great challenge for us. We learned a lot in the process that will allow us to continue to get better.”
Kirshe notched the only goal of the afternoon in the 36th minute, finishing off a deadly Eph counter-attack.
After the Camels threw numbers forward for a long throw in near the right corner flag, the Ephs swiftly funneled the ball to forward Kristina Alvarado ’19 around the halfway line so that she could connect with Alison Lu ’20. Approaching the penalty area, Lu picked her head up to find Kirshe streaming into the penalty area. The senior striker did well to win Lu’s pass from her defender before poking a shot under the right arm of the Camel goalie and into the back of the net to give the Ephs the lead.
Before Kirshe’s goal, with 10 minutes left in the first half, Lu made her first impression on the game by darting through the Camel back line to fire a shot off a defender to win a corner. The ensuing delivery by Jacqueline Simeone ’18 to the top of the box was smartly laid off by Kirshe to midfielder Evan Gancedo ’18, who volleyed a shot on target that proved to be a tricky save for the Camels goalie.
Right out of the restart, the Camels looked determined to get on the board and created the chance for a free kick.
Then the Camels had their best chance of the game up to that point to equalize. The Camels chased down a through ball and a Camels player found herself one-on-one with Olivia Barnhill ’19. With only the keeper to beat, the Camels player tried to slot her shot under Barnhill, but the Ephs’ keeper made a crucial save.
From there, the Camels continued to pepper Barnhill’s goal, creating many more chances than they had managed in the first half.
As the clock ticked into the 85th minute, the Camels’ efforts began to look a little desperate.
With less than two minutes remaining, the Ephs’ front trio of Audrey Thomas ’17, Kirshe and Lu relieved the pressure, creating several chances at the Camels’ end of the field, but they were unable to put the game to bed with a second goal. The Camels failed to capitalize on their chances to force overtime, resulting in a 1–0 Eph victory.
On Sunday, the Ephs traveled up to Vermont to face-off against non-conference opponent Castleton. Kirshe became the Ephs’ all-time leader in points with her one-goal-and-three-assist performance and also was named NESCAC player of the week.
Katie Wardlaw ’17 opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a sensational long-range finish. The Ephs doubled their lead 11 minutes later when Kirshe and Lu combined to add another goal. Lu wasted little time grabbing her second goal of the afternoon five minutes later, to give the women a 3–0 lead heading into the half.
Gancedo was able to extend the Ephs’ advantage to four goals less than three minutes after the restart. This was Gancedo’s first goal of the season. Seven minutes later, Natalie Turner-Wyatt ’19 got in on the action for the Ephs’ fifth.
In the 81st minute, Kirshe finally got a goal of her own after an assist from Lu.
With just five minutes left, Lu completed her hat trick, after Kirshe stole the ball off of a Castleton defender in her own defensive third. Thomas finished off the afternoon’s scoring with her first goal of the season just 34 seconds after Castleton got play back underway. Kirshe completed her hat trick of assists by finding Thomas just inside the box for her to finish with a flourish past the Spartans goalie.
With her goal and three assists, Kirshe extended her career points tally to 102, surpassing the previous record of 97 held by Stacey Starner ’03.
The women will continue their non-conference play with a home game against Bard on Saturday.