After shutting out one University Athletic Association opponent two weekends ago, the women’s soccer team continued play with a whirlwind weekend, tying Carnegie Mellon University after two scoreless overtimes and defeating previously unbeaten and seventh-ranked Emory University in an exciting overtime win just two days later.
Coming off of a three-game winning streak, the team shut out New York University on Saturday, Oct. 6, 1-0. The ‘Jackets’ strong defense allowed only two shots, both of which senior goalkeeper Molly Leitch saved during her perfect 90 minutes in goal.
On the other side of the ball, the offense did its part, firing 14 shots at NYU’s goalkeeper Katie Barnes. Freshman forward Bridgette Varin led the attack with five shots on goal, but it was senior defenseman Amy Thompson who was able to score and recorded the only goal of the game. With 10 seconds left in the first half, Thompson scored on a key corner kick from teammate and sophomore midfielder Mae Butler.
“Mae has a great corner kick. It is really consistent, always going to the back post. Knowing this about her, three of us made runs to the back post and, luckily, one of us got on the end of it,” Thompson said.
Their confidence carried into the second half, and was very important in maintaining the lead.
“Scoring before half was key,” Thompson said. “It was exciting – during halftime, we were all really pumped to get back on the field. But NYU played really well, better than previous years, and going into the second half in the lead was a big advantage.”
The momentum from the four-game winning streak temporarily lulled, however, when the ‘Jackets couldn’t capitalize on any of the offensive opportunities late in the game against Carnegie Mellon. The Yellowjackets took a 1-0 lead early in the first period, thanks to a joint effort between junior midfielder Laura Bojko and senior midfielder/forward Ali Streeter. Bojko sent a soaring corner kick into a crowded goalmouth, and Streeter guided it in, netting her third goal of the season.
CMU responded late in the second when Dara DeWath scored off a corner kick from Amanda Rose. The Yellowjackets’ defense remained strong, though, and the game ended as a 1-1 tie after neither team could manage a score in the first sudden death period nor the second overtime.
“I believe we really stepped up and proved to be the team that was more eager to win, especially during the sudden death period,” Streeter said. “A couple of shots were very close to going in, hitting both the post and crossbar numerous times. Also, our corner kicks throughout the game were very dangerous and their goalie came up with some big saves to keep the game scoreless throughout.”
The team ended the week on a high note with an 1-0 win over the seventh-ranked Emory Eagles. The Eagles came into Fauver Stadium unbeaten, but for the second time this year the ladies handed a key first lost to their opponents. The win advances the ‘Jackets to first place overall in the UAA standings.
Although they scored 39 goals in the last 12 games, the high-powered Emory offensive was unable to crack the Yellowjackets’ defense. Leitch recorded four more saves and got her second perfect game in eight days. The shutout against Emory marks the eighth of the season.
However, Leitch attributes much of her success to the defense protecting her.
“They come up big so many times so that I don’t have to. The games would definitely go differently if they didn’t work so hard,” she said.
The offense kept the pressure on, as well. Senior midfielder/forward Tammy Brewster made a key assist to Bojko early in the first period allowing her to bend a 15-yarder into the top of the net, just inside the left post.
“Tammy made a perfect run to offset their defense early in the game and played a great slot ball into me,” Bojko said. “That early goal made a huge difference in the game and put the momentum in our favor right away.”
“As a team we applied pressure all over the field,” Thompson said. “We played not as individuals but as one collective unit and that’s why were we successful. We had a lot of opportunities to put them away, I am just happy we put one in their net.”
The Yellowjackets looked to continue their hot streak last night as they battled the Nazareth College Golden Flyers at home. It was another game dictated by defense. Neither the ‘Jackets nor the Golden Flyers were able to score, however, and, after the second sudden death period, the game finally ended in a 0-0 draw.
Defensively, the team was outstanding yet again. Leitch recorded yet another shutout, making it six of the last seven outings for her and her seventh solo shutout overall this year. Some of her key saves came late in the game and during overtime, particularly the bullet fired by Nazareth’s Rachel Cushman with just over five minutes remaining in the first overtime.
The offense, while unable to score, was not by any means shut down. The Yellowjackets got off 15 shots and had three corner kicks throughout the game. Perhaps the closest the ‘Jackets came to scoring was on a 25-yard shot from Streeter. Streeter’s shot hit the bottom half of the crossbar, and the Golden Flyer goalie Hillary Simon smothered the rebound.
The team travels to Cortland to play Wilkes University this Sunday, hoping to continue its unbeaten streak.
Letson is a member of the class of 2009.