The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Colgate Women’s Soccer Puts up Incredible Postseason Run

Colgate Athletics / Olivia Hokanson

It has been quite a ride for the Colgate University women’s soccer team. After an up-and-down fall season, the team dominated College of the Holy Cross in a win-or-go-home game for the final spot in the Patriot League playoffs. Controlling possession and the flow of the game for much of the first half, going into halftime it felt like a breakthrough was coming. 

Just before the hour mark, that breakthrough came. Junior forward Paige Foa was able to receive the ball at her feet, spin a defender and place her shot in the top left corner. After Foa’s goal, sophomores Ari Bezanson and Gillian Yonce would add on another two tallies to put the game out of reach. The second-half showing put a cap on the Raiders’ inspired performance to elevate them into the postseason.

This win cascaded into momentum for the team. Taking on three-seed Loyola University Maryland — a team who had bested them during the regular season — in the quarterfinals away from home, Colgate was a clear underdog, but the Raiders remained confident. Bezanson believed the regular season loss was a key motivating factor for her and her team.

“We were hungry for revenge. The last time we played Loyola, we weren’t at our best and we came to play in the quarterfinals […]. By the end of our season, we got our groove going and were happy with ourselves,” Bezanson said.

The game was a tightly contested battle, with Colgate proving they belonged on the same field as the higher-ranked Loyola. 

There was a large consortium of Colgate fans in the stands as the Raiders traveled all the way to Maryland. Those fans would go home happy and should be proud, as they no doubt played a part in the 2-0 Colgate victory. Sophomore and Maryland native Ellie Stokes opened the scoring for the Raiders in the first half.

“Beating Loyola on their home field felt amazing,” Stokes said. “It honestly felt like a home game for us because of how many friends and family traveled to support us in the quarterfinals. Especially for me, winning and scoring in my home state was such a good feeling. I think this game helped prove to ourselves and the rest of the Patriot League that we deserved to make it into the tournament.”

If there was any question as to whether Colgate deserved to be in the postseason, those questions had definitely been answered. Goalkeeper and junior Alli Popham reiterated these sentiments and highlighted the importance of Stokes’ first-half goal.

“When we scored that first goal, it changed how both teams played. They were in shock, and we knew that they were vulnerable,” Popham said.

No doubt, with their recent success in the Holy Cross matchup, Popham and the Raiders had a different confidence than they had in their first matchup with Loyola. That mentality was key to the upset victory.

“[Loyola] had a strong team that had allowed very few shots on goal during the regular season,” Popham said. “I don’t think they expected to be challenged in that way, which made the win feel that much more special.”

With the victory, the Raiders would advance and play one-seed Army in the semifinals only a couple of days later. Though the Loyola game was intense, this matchup with the top-ranked Army would raise the level even further.

The game was dubbed by the institution as a “Cadet game,” where the students also known as Cadets would receive credit for attending the semifinal matchup. Being a postseason matchup, the extra added incentive to show up made the atmosphere that much more electric.

Naturally, as the first seed in the tournament, Army proved to be a formidable opponent. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 until the 77th minute, when Army was able to find the back of the net. That one tally was enough to end Colgate’s run in the postseason.

“It was obviously a heartbreaking way to end our season, but the whole team was proud of the commitment and work ethic we showed to get to the semifinals. Everyone stepped onto the field with a strong belief that we could win,” Stokes said.

Despite the loss, the Raiders are proud of how far they made it in the tournament and showed that they belong with the top dogs in the Patriot League.

Looking ahead to next season, the team is excited about what the future holds. Popham believes something special is coming for this group of Raiders, and based upon their play in the postseason, it’s hard to not get excited about next season. 

“I am really proud of the team and how we finished up the season. It was an unfortunate loss, but the team left everything on the field,” Popham said. “I couldn’t be more excited for next season. I feel we set a standard for ourselves and we have very high expectations for the future.”

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About the Contributor
Ian Gisiger
Ian Gisiger, Assistant Sports Editor
Ian Gisiger is a sophomore from Boston, MA who is an economics major and writing and rhetoric minor. He has previously served as a Staff Writer for the Sports section. On campus, he is involved in the Athletics Department, Scholars of Finance, Club Soccer, Club Hockey, and Club Ski. He is also a member of a Greek letter organization.

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