After a disappointing start to the season, Colgate women’s soccer has turned their game around, and has now won three of their last four matches. Last weekend the Raiders played host to Vermont and Columbia, beating Vermont 2-0 on Friday, and defeating Columbia 1-0 on Sunday.
Coming off an encouraging weekend, Colgate came back to Van Doren Field, hoping to continue their momentum as they wrapped up their non-conference schedule. On Friday night, they hosted the Vermont Catamounts, who came into the match sporting an unsightly 0-6-1 record. Colgate immediately demonstrated their superiority, peppering the Vermont goal in the early goings. In the 13th minute, Colgate got their goal. On a rebound from a Jillian Kinter shot, sophomore midfielder Danielle Wessler cleaned up, slotting the ball past a helpless Eliza Bradley to give Colgate the 1-0 advantage, a lead they took into the halftime interval.
Coming out for the second 45, Vermont pressed the Colgate defense with all their might, taking three shots within the first six minutes of play. Play evened out for the remainder of the half, but Colgate managed to add an insurance goal in the 79th minute that cemented the result. First-year Sarah Henderson played a ball from midfield to a streaking Kinter, who blew past the defense and placed a shot past Bradley, who was again hung out to dry by her defense. The Colgate defense held strong for the next 11 minutes, helping first-year goalkeeper Ashley Walsh to earn another clean sheet, her third of the season, in the 2-0 victory. Walsh finished the match with seven saves.
“It felt great to be able to contribute to the team’s success,” Walsh said. “Our team really came together and played some good soccer. We are finally playing like we know how to.”
After a well-deserved day off, the Raiders came back out to Van Doren Field, this time to take on an Ivy League opponent, the Columbia Lions. Columbia came into Hamilton with a 4-3-1 record and a squad boasting a number of talented players, like sophomore midfielder Liz Wicks, a product of the Arsenal Ladies Academy, one of the most prestigious female soccer academies in Europe, and a former member of the England U-17 National Team.
For all their talent, however, the Lions could not cope with the quick-strike Colgate offense that felled them like a cobra in the second minute of the match. First-year Alyssa Manoogian sent a cross to the top of the penalty area, where Henderson was waiting for the pass. Columbia goalkeeper Lindsay Danielson came out for the ball, but was beaten by Henderson, who fired towards the open goal, giving herself her first collegiate goal, and giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. Columbia proceeded to pepper the goal for the remainder of the half, forcing Walsh into five first-half saves, as the teams went into halftime with Colgate leading 1-0.
Columbia came out flying in the second half, taking 11 shots, with 5 on goal, but Walsh was equal to the task every time. Walsh’s performance, coupled with the five offside calls against Columbia frustrated the Lions to the final whistle, which finalized Colgate’s fortuitous 1-0 victory.
With the non-conference schedule out of the way, Colgate heads into conference play this weekend, travelling to Annapolis to take on the U.S. Naval Academy, in a rematch of the Patriot League semi-final from last year, a match that Colgate lost 1-0 in overtime. Colgate returns home the following weekend to take on Patriot League foes Lehigh and Lafayette at Van Doren Field.
“I think our team has steadily been improving each game,” Walsh said, “and the results have finally been going our way. I think we will use our momentum from the past couple games and go full force into the Patriot League games.”