The Yellowjacket women’s soccer team, hot off a 4-0 win over Westfield State in the first round of the NCAA tourament on Saturday, was edged by Rowan University on Sunday, 0-1.
The Yellowjackets came into the tournament with an overall regular season record of 12-3-3. This gave them home-field advantage for both games over the weekend.
The women advanced to Sunday’s game with an impressive win over Westfield State on Saturday. They stunned the Owls when sophomore forward Ellen Coleman scored a goal only 2:02 into the game. Her shot from 12 yards out to the lower left-hand corner put the Yellowjackets up 1-0 in the first half.
Junior midfielder Brittany Huber made the score 2-0 when she used her speed to break through the Owls’ defense, nailing a shot in from 20 yards out, adding to the Yellowjackets’ momentum.
Senior defender Stephanie Diebold commented on the Owls’ defensive play.
‘Their defense was not very together or organized, which allowed us to find slotted balls and ultimately score,” Diebold said.
Then, with over 40 minutes played in the half, senior midfielder Eileen Boyan set up sophomore forward Jessica Smith with a free kick that she tipped in to add to the lead.
Coleman got her second goal of the night in the second half, when she blew past two defenders to the middle of the field and beamed a shot to the top of the net, making the score 4-0.
Senior goalie Celeste Hornbach made an impressive four saves during her time in goal against Westfield.
Junior forward Bridgette Varin talked about why the team was so successful Saturday.
‘We were able to possess the ball and play our style of game, finding feet, moving off the ball and building up out of the back as a team,” Varin said.
Saturday’s win allowed the Yellowjackets to advance to play the Rowan University Profs at Fauver Stadium.
UR had some good shots at the Rowan goalie but with no luck of scoring. They came very close at the end of the second half on a corner kick by junior midfielder Kirsten Ross, but were unable to knock it in.
The Profs turned on their offensive firepower during the beginning of the second, half, but the Yellowjackets defense contained the Rowan attack.
With 13:30 left to play in the game, Rowan forward Jess Babice came up huge for her team and scored on a breakaway to give Rowan a 1-0 lead.
UR could not keep up the offensive pressure and eventually lost the game to Rowan to a final score of 1-0.
‘Rowan had a couple good forwards that were pretty quick,” Varin said. ‘They were just able to get one of them the ball, and she ended up beating our defense and scoring. We had our chances to score but we didn’t capitalize.”
With the win, Rowan will advance on through the NCAAs to play Ithaca College in the third round.
This loss ended the Yellowjackets season, leaving them with an overall record of 13-4-3 on the season.
‘We had an awesome season overall,” Diebold said. ‘Do I think we could have gone much further? Yes, there is no doubt in my mind. Saturday night’s game was just a preview of the team’s offensive ability. If we could have consistently put numbers on the board early on in the game, we would be sitting in a very different position.”
The Yellowjackets are positive as they look toward next season.
‘It was a great season, just disappointing because we should’ve got into the Sweet 16, if not further,” Varin said. ‘But I’m looking forward to next season. We still have a lot of starters coming back and some people are going to have to step up and fill the empty positions. We’ll be solid though.”
The Yellowjackets will return next season with three new defensemen and a new goalkeeper. They will have to start strong and confident to keep up with the Yellowjacket team.
Varin went on about the future of the program: ‘If the team is able to accomplish this next season, they will have no problem going as far as they want to.”
Latona is a member of the class of 2011.