Women’s Soccer Falls After Strong Start

Larry Schweitzer

After rocketing off to their best start in over twenty years, the Colgate women’s soccer team fell back to earth with a 2-0 loss to the College of William and Mary on Sunday afternoon. The Raiders won their first four games of the season to match the 4-0 start to the 1983 season. The loss came in the second game of the Virginia Commonwealth Tournament in Richmond. In the first game on Friday, the Raiders shut out the host school 1-0.

Junior Brittany Pearsall started in net for Colgate and blanked VCU in a very tight match. The game was Pearsall’s second start of the season, and she recorded both her second shutout and victory of the young campaign. The first half offered very little offense, as the combined shot total for the teams was a mere five attempts.

First-year Jillian Arnault provided the game’s first goal five minutes into the second half, off of a centering pass from junior Franny Iacuzzi. The goal would be the only point in the contest and was Arnault’s second goal of the season, pushing her into a three-way tie for the team lead with sophomore Josie Johnson and Iacuzzi. While the remainder of the game was scoreless, both teams launched a number of shots, including VCU’s nine in the second half alone.

Arnault’s goal was not only the lone goal of the game, but the only one that the Raiders could muster over the weekend. Following the victory over Virginia Commonwealth, Colgate had to face the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s 25th ranked team in the nation, William and Mary. The Tribe were 2-0 all time against Colgate coming into the contest and are 5-1 this season, with their only loss coming to 16th ranked Auburn in double overtime.

It looked as though the Raiders had struck first off of a corner kick midway through the first half. The ball was headed past the goalie and into the net, but officials called an offside on the play, negating the goal. Ten minutes later the Tribe reached the back of the net and the goal stood to give them a 1-0 lead. The goal came off the rebound of a diving save by junior keeper Carly Sousa. Colgate’s deficit ran to two goals ten minutes into the second half when William and Mary notched another score, this time on a header off a corner kick .

Despite giving up the two goals, Sousa made eight saves in the game as the Raider defense had its hands full with the William and Mary offense, which unleashed 18 shots in the game.

The Raiders came out of the weekend with a 4-1 record on the season and played well against two tough opponents. Not only was William and Mary ranked in the nation’s top 25, but they were also ranked fourth in the Mid-Atlantic region; VCU was also ranked 9th in the region.

Despite the loss over the weekend, Colgate maintained their rankings in the Northeast region in both the NSCAA and soccerbuzz.com polls. The NSCAA have the Raiders at sixth and soccerbuzz.com ranks them seventh, with Yale leapfrogging Colgate.

The Raiders have a hectic upcoming schedule, with six games from September 15 to September 30, a span of only 16 days. The first of the games will be on Friday at 7 p.m. at Van Doren Field. The Raiders are facing off against 0-6 Sacred Heart in their first home game since the season opener. Only two days later, on Sunday, the Raiders will make the trip to Syracuse to play the Orange.

Before Colgate is able to catch their breath from the pair of games over the weekend, they will head to Villanova to play the Wildcats on Tuesday. The game against Villanova should be a very tough match, as they are 7-0 on the season and are receiving votes in both national polls, landing just outside the top 25.