Women’s soccer adds two victories

October 19, 2016 by Scott Shelton, Staff Writer

Women’s soccer (12–0–1, 7–0–1 in the NESCAC) extended its win streak to seven games when it hosted the Polar Bears on Sunday afternoon.

The Polar Bears came into the bout having lost two of their last four games and  looking to jumpstart the end of their season with a win against the Ephs, the No. 2 ranked team in the country. However, Audrey Thomas ’17 and Kristina Alvarado ’19 combined to deny the Polar Bears their revenge  for their 2015 NESCAC Championship loss to the Ephs.

Thomas grabbed the only goal of the opening half. The play began with an expert attack by Sarah Sciré ’20, who made a swift move forward through the midfield with the ball. She attempted a cleverly designed pass over, rather than through, the Polar Bear defense. Thomas slipped between the two central defenders and was first to Sciré’s ball. With only Rachel Stout left between her and the goal, she deftly chipped the on-rushing goalkeeper to give the Ephs the lead.

In the second half, the Ephs extended their lead to two goals, thanks to a counterattack led by Kristi Kirshe ’17 and finished off by Alvarado.

Kirshe outmuscled her defender on the left flank and then had space to run to the end line. Once there, she picked her head up and found Alvarado at the near post, and the latter banged her ensuing shot past Stout.

The Polar Bears had a sprinkle of chances, mainly by way of set pieces, to try to pull a goal back and make things interesting, but each time, the resolute Eph defense repelled the Polar Bears’ attempts and ensured the Ephs their 10th clean sheet of the season.

The game also marked the team’s 50th straight win at home over the past four years.

On Saturday, the women faced off against Wesleyan. Three goals in the first quarter of an hour from the Ephs on Cole Field set the tone for the afternoon, and the women went on to win 6–0.

Thomas had another outstanding game against the Cardinals, scoring on two scintillating strikes and also assisting on two tallies, propelling the Ephs to the blowout victory. The first goal to be scored was from Scire off an insightful through-ball from Thomas which culminated a fantastic run. The second goal was scored unassisted by Natasha Albaneze ’18 off of a failed clearance, as the Eph attacker rifled a shot past the dive of the Wesleyan keeper to bring the score to 2–0. The third goal in the early attacking flurry was scored by Thomas, as she calmly slotted a ball past the Cardinal keeper into the bottom corner. Second goals from Scire and Thomas near the hour mark put the game firmly out of grasp for the opposition and consolidated the league victory.

On Oct. 9, the women tallied an important non-league victory against MIT, triumphing 4–1, propelled by a hat trick from Scire. The final score did not reflect the tight contests which was played, especially during the first half, as the Ephs only tallied one score despite 13 first-half shots. The game was knotted at 1–1 at halftime, and the women only pulled ahead in the second-half through another two goals from Scire and a score from Evan Gancedo ’18.

On Oct. 8, the Ephs pulled out a 5–0 win against another non-conference opponent, Bard. In this contest, the outcome was never really in doubt, as two goals by Thomas and Gancedo in the first 17 minutes of play effectively subdued the competition. The Ephs kept their attacking focus throughout the game, however, adding two goals from Alison Lu ’20 and a score from Wardlaw. Barnhill recorded the clean sheet in goal, but only needed to record one save. The Ephs took 31 shots,  and placed 18 on goal in a dominant performance.

“We felt great about getting two big results this weekend and we think it will help propel us through the end of the regular season and into the league playoffs,” Thomas said. “[Tressa Palcheck ’17 and I] are both very pleased with the results the team has been able to get.”

The Ephs have another double-game weekend for their trip to the greater Boston area next Saturday, where they will take on Tufts in Medford, Mass. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

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