Colgate women’s soccer had a bountiful weekend, rebounding from a string of poor results to go 1-1-1 during a brutal stretch of the schedule.
The Raiders weekend schedule opened up with a Friday night trip to Burlington, Vermont, where they took on the Catamounts of the University of Vermont. Colgate opened up the scoring early, much like they have all season, with sophomore Anna Baldwin cleaning up after a mess in the box and poking home the opening goal. The Raiders have been prone to giving up their early leads this season, but were not to be denied a victory on this occasion. 28 minutes in, first-year midfielder Katheryne Lawson doubled Colgate’s advantage, making the score 2-0, giving the team a huge morale boost heading into halftime. After the break, Colgate came out defending hard, determined not to give up their lead. The strategy paid off until the 79th minute, when Vermont’s sophomore midfielder Sasha Morey cut the deficit in half, setting up a frantic finish. Vermont peppered the goal for the remaining ten minutes, but Colgate’s first-year goalkeeper Rebecca Michlin stood tall in goal, preserving the Raiders’ lead to the final whistle, giving them a well-deserved victory.
“We’ve had some really outstanding performances,” Colgate Head Coach Kathy Brawn said. “Even though we’ve been plagued by injury, with 11 players injured for our last match, we’ve responded well.”
The Colgate women then hopped on the bus to Hartford, Connecticut, to play the University of Hartford in a Sunday matinee. The match opened slowly, with the teams combining for just three shots on goal in the first half. The second half, in stark contrast, opened with a bang, with Hartford being awarded a penalty kick in the opening minute. Hartford’s senior midfielder Lauren Aldred, a product of Manchester, England, stepped up and delivered on the spot kick, hammering the shot into the upper-right corner of the goal to give Hartford a 1-0 lead. The Hawks kept up the pressure on the Colgate goal for the remainder of the half, forcing Michlin into action on more than one occasion. The Raiders did enough to keep themselves just a goal back, and were justly rewarded with the equalizing goal in the 77th minute. Junior midfielder Jessica Bitsack was the hero for Colgate, scoring on a great individual effort, chipping the ball just inside the right post. After the goal, Colgate was content to defend until the end. Hartford applied substantial pressure in the overtime periods, but the defense kept the quality chances to a minimum, and Michlin was again a force in goal, preserving the draw for Colgate, sending them home with a win and a draw from their weekend matches.
Last Tuesday night, the Raiders took on the Princeton Tigers at Van Doren Field. Colgate was clearly exhausted, both mentally and physically, from their weekend road trip, as Princeton took a 2-0 lead within two and a half minutes on goals from junior defender Melissa Seitz and first-year forward Kalie Bartholomew. The Tigers never looked back from there.
“It was a good weekend, but I’m disappointed with [Tuesday night’s] performance,” Brawn said. “We just weren’t mentally prepared.”
Colgate had one shot on goal during the entire match, but its best chance on goal came from a well-struck Jessica Bitsack free kick from 25 yards out that sailed just over the crossbar late in the second half.
The Colgate women take on upstate New York rival Cornell on Sunday at Van Doren Field, before immersing themselves in Patriot League competition starting next weekend.
“I feel really good about our chances [in the Patriot League] this year,” Brawn said. “We’re just looking for better finishing, but I feel like we’re on the doorstep. Once we recover from our injuries, we’ll have more continuity and that will really help.”