Women’s Soccer Splits Pair

Larry Schweitzer

In the midst of its challenging stretch of games, the Colgate women’s soccer team split its games against Villanova and Columbia last weekend. The ten days between September 15 and 24 have tested the Lady Raiders, who have already had four games with two more before the close of the week for a total of six games in 16 days. So far they have come out on top three times, with the lone loss coming against Villanova last Tuesday, putting their record at 7-2 on the season.

Coming into the game, Villanova’s undefeated record vaulted them to fifth in the Mid-Atlantic Region. They also received votes in the soccerbuzz.com rankings after having given up only one goal in eight games.

The Raiders, like every other opponent the Wildcats have faced, could not muster much offense and fell by a score of 3-0. Junior Brittany Pearsall started in goal and looked to continue her streak of three shutouts in as many appearances. However, the strong Villanova team beat her twice in 63 minutes of playing time, resulting in the first goals that Pearsall has allowed this year. The Wildcats went on to hand the Raiders just their second loss of the season.

Villanova spread their scoring out throughout the game, with a goal less than a minute before halftime, another 15 minutes into the second half, and then the third with just over a minute left in the game to “ice” their victory cake. Even though Colgate failed to reach the back of the net, they did not lack opportunities, amassing 16 shots, led by junior Franny Iacuzzi’s five and sophomore Josie Johnson’s three.

The Raiders bounced back from the tough defeat to the Wildcats with a shutout in New York City at Columbia. First year Jessica Bitsack scored the game’s lone goal four minutes into overtime after over 90 minutes of scoreless play. Bitsack scored the goal out of a crowd of people in front of the net, while first-year Jillian Arnault and junior Kathleen Head tallied the assists. The goal was Bistack’s second of the season and put her in a tie for team point leader with Iacuzzi. Junior Carly Sousa played in goal for the entire game and made three saves for her fourth win and first shutout of the season. Bitsack was also honored as Patriot League Rookie of the Week for her efforts in the pair of games.

With the loss in the week, Colgate dropped a spot in the soccerbuzz.com Northeast regional poll, to number seven. Also, as a result of the week of play and their victory over the Raiders, Villanova moved into the national rankings, debuting at 25th in the nation.

The Raiders play Wednesday at Cornell and a win would put their non-league record at an impressive 8-2, with the two losses coming to nationally-ranked Villanova and William and Mary, who are receiving votes in this week’s national poll.

On Saturday Colgate will travel to Lewisburg, PA to play Bucknell in their first Patriot League action of the year. Bucknell is 5-3-1 so far this season. Last year, the Bison won the Patriot League crown after coming into the league tournament as the fourth seed, and they were predicted to finish fourth in the league once again in the preseason coaches’ polls. In the same poll, Colgate was picked to finish second and garnered one less first place vote than last year’s regular season co-champion and current first-place team Lehigh. However, the Raiders are hoping for better than second best.