Top Tier Teams Test Raiders to the Max

Despite injuries to five starters, including two captains and two All-Patriot League members, the women’s soccer team has continued to win games against tough opponents. During last weekend, Colgate posted a win and a loss against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Brigham Young University, respectively, in the Big Toe Tournament in Madison, Wisconsin. Additionally, the Raiders settled for a, 0-0, tie against Syracuse on Wednesday night. Prior to the Big Toe tournament, Colgate had retaken the fifth place in the Regional rankings, but fell back to number seven in the September 19th poll.

In Madison, the Raiders defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1-0, last Friday evening. The game was scoreless, until the first minutes of the second half, when sophomore forward Franny Iacuzzi scored her fifth goal of the year. The assists on the goal went to first-year forward Josie Johnson and senior midfielder Carolyn Warhaftig. Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Luisa Miller contributed in a large way to earn her second shutout of the season by making eight saves.

On Saturday, the Raiders had to face a talented and undefeated team, in BYU, during the second game of the tournament. The Cougars came into the match with a 7-0 record and had remarkably allowed only two goals on the season. Unfortunately for the Raiders, BYU continued their winning ways and defeated Colgate, 2-0, on headers by Brooke Bowman and Annie Swahlen. Colgate could only muster two shots against the suffocating Cougar defense, while senior keeper Luisa Miller made sevven saves to keep the game close. For their outstanding play, Miller and her classmate, midfielder Heather McSherry, were both named to the All-Tournament team.

On Wednesday night, the Raiders played faced off against one of the rivals, the Syracuse Orange at Van Doren Field. “This game is always exciting and it is a great rivalry, but they have had the better of us over the last ten years. It was a close game last year and it is nice to be at home for this one. I look forward to seeing what we can do,” head coach Kathy Brawn said prior to the game.

In fact, the game was very close again, as neither team managed to score a goal through both halves and even two overtime periods. The Orange almost scored before the end of the second overtime, but first-year defender Jill Fonseca blocked the shot, thus preserving the tie. Miller racked up another seven saves and didn’t allow a goal in all 110 minutes of play to record her second shutout of the year.

Sophomore defender Kathleen Head and senior midfielder Carolyn Warhaftig were injured in the Wisconsin-Milwaukee and BYU games, respectively. Both women are day-to-day and Coach Brawn expects both to be ready for the game against Bucknell on October 1st. The two injuries are just a part of a potentially devastating trend that the team has been plagued by. Since the beginning of the season, there have been a number of key players lost to injury, which now includes two of the team’s three captains, in Warhaftig and senior striker Kelly Kuss.

“Overall I am happy with the team. Game after game they are showing how impressive their mental toughness with more and more injuries,” Brawn commented about the week’s games. Injuries provide a little something extra for the team to overcome and another opportunity for people to rise to the occasion.”

The Raiders take on Columbia, this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Van Doren Field. It will be their final non-conference game before opening up their Patriot League schedule against Bucknell in two weeks. If the team’s injured players cannot return to the field, it will be in the hands (or feet) of Coach Brawn and the revamped lineup to continue their solid play. The women played a tough non-conference schedule, which included three nationally ranked teams. Impressively, they held their own and should be able to fulfill the predictions of the Patriot League coaches and place first in the league yet again.