Raider Soccer Loses to Familiar Foe

Larry Schweitzer

All good things must sooner or later come to an end. Unfortunately for the Raider women’s soccer team, its excellent season came to a disheartening and sudden end last Friday. In the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament, the second-seeded Raiders lost to Army, the third seed, 1-0. The loss marked the end of the season for the Raiders, but the campaign was not without its individual successes, as the team placed three players on the All-Patriot League first team and two players on the second team.

Army junior Ronee Farrell scored the lone goal of the playoff game after 58 minutes of scoreless play. Colgate played very well in the first half but could not manage to score a goal, despite a number of opportunities. Senior Carolyn Warhaftig, playing in what turned out to be her last collegiate game for Colgate, launched eight shots in the game, including one header that bounced off the post early in the first half and another header that hit the crossbar in the second half. The Raiders out-shot the Black Knights, 17-11, but the goal by Farrell was the only ball that reached the back of the net. With the win, Army defeated Colgate for the first time since 2001, a span of six games that included last year’s Patriot League semifinals.

The Raiders could take some solace in the fact that their loss was certainly not the only upset of the weekend. Fourth-seeded Bucknell surprised top-seeded Lehigh with a win in penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie, and then soundly beat Army in the Championship game, 3-1, to claim the title. It was the first time in the history of the tournament that a fourth-seed has taken home the trophy.

There were a number of individual standouts this year for the Raiders. First-year Josie Johnson was named the Patriot League co-Rookie of the Year along with Lehigh goalie Julie Kafka. Warhaftig, sophomore Franny Iacuzzi and junior Kellen Kroll were all named to the first-team All-Patriot League team, while Johnson and junior Jackie Burch were named to the second team. Burch was also named to the 2005 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District team, which recognizes both athletic and academic achievement, and she now moves onto the national ballot.

Statistically, the Raiders finished the year at the top of the league in both offense and defense. Colgate had the best goals per game average of all Patriot League teams and the second best goals allowed average. The Raiders were the only team in the league to score more than two goals per game while allowing less than one, en route to a 6-1 Patriot League record and 12-5-1 record overall.

Iacuzzi was the standout on offense once again, leading the league in points per game, goals and goals per game. Her 13 goals and five assists gave her 31 points for the season, good enough for second best in the league. Despite these impressive statistics, the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year award was given to Lehigh’s Gina Lewandowski. Senior keeper Luisa Miller also had an excellent season for Colgate, as she placed second in the league in saves and save percentage, as well as third in goals allowed per game.

Looking ahead to next year, much of the offensive firepower is going to return, but the team will lose four seniors to graduation, including three starters, Warhaftig, Miller and Heather McSherry. But leading goal scorers Iacuzzi and Johnson will both return, as the Raiders will likely gear up for another successful campaign.