Soccer Stymies Sacred Heart and Syracuse

Soccer Stymies Sacred Heart and Syracuse

Larry Schweitzer

The Colgate women’s soccer team opened a grueling stretch of the season with a pair of victories over Sacred Heart and Syracuse. The Raiders beat the Orange for the first time in a decade and improved their record to 6-1 with the two wins. After this past weekend, the Raiders played again on Tuesday afternoon and will play on Sunday and again next Wednesday as part of a stretch with six games in 14 days.

On Friday night the Raiders faced off against a winless Sacred Heart squad on Van Doren Field and came away with the win, though not without a some trouble. The first half was scoreless, but in the opening minute the Pioneers gained an unexpected lead when one of the Colgate defenders accidentally headed a corner kick into the Raider net for an own goal. Ten minutes later the Raiders regrouped and senior Kelly Kuss received a pass from sophomore Josie Johnson and hit the back of the net to tie the game up. Junior forward Franny Iaccuzzi scored her third goal of the season to capture the lead five minutes later and the Colgate defense iced the game for the victory.

“When we were down by a goal at home early it was a serious gut check,” Head Coach Kathy Brawn said of the own goal, “It showed that anyone can beat anyone, but our players responded well and we ended up coming out with the win.”

With just one day to recover from the win at home, the Raiders made the trip up to Syracuse to play the Orange, who Colgate had not beaten since 1996. First-year Jessica Bitsack quickly showed the Orange that things were changing this year, notching her first collegiate goal ten minutes into the game. It would also end up being the only score of the contest, even though the two teams combined for 30 shots. The shutout was junior goalie Brittany Pearsall’s third shutout in as many games, giving her 270 straight minutes of scoreless goalkeeping to start the season.

“Syracuse is one of our biggest non-league rivals,” Brawn said. “It was a huge victory and provided a lot of momentum.”

The Raiders get another single day off before traveling to Villanova to take on the unbeaten Wildcats, who are ranked number five in the NSCAA and soccerbuzz.com regional polls. Villanova also receives votes for the national polls, so the game should be a very difficult contest for the Raiders.

After battling Villanova, the Raiders will get a short week to rest themselves before going to New York on Sunday to play Columbia, a team that is winless in its last four games, with an overall record of 2-3-2.