Colgate women’s soccer team lost a thrilling yet heartbreak-ing game to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University. Despite dominating the competition with a multitude of strong offensive possessions throughout the game, Colgate came up short by a score of 1-0.
Rutgers obtained the early critical advantage in just the 17th minute of the game when sopho-more forward Cassie Inacio skill-fully dribbled her way through the top of the box. Upon enter-ing the box, Inacio was immedi-ately stopped by Colgate’s defense. However, this resilient and gritty Rutgers squad managed to push the ball through Colgate’s strong defense, when sophomore Amy Pietrangelo obtained possession of the loose ball and fired an amazing 25-yard shot that landed in the the goal’s upper right hand corner.
Senior captain and goalkeeper Ashley Walsh, who was recently selected as one of the nation’s College Soccer 360, came within inches of deflecting the shot, but her attempts came to no avail as Pietrangelo’s shot landed out of her reach in just the right angle of the goal.
Unwilling the relinquish con-trol of the game, The Raiders earned themselves a plethora of scoring opportunities over the re-maining minutes of the game. The first of these scoring opportuni-ties came when junior midfielder Kelsey Hough played an extreme-ly efficient corner kick late in the first half. The kick put surg-ing sophomore Jenna Reapple in perfect position to play a header, which she was unable to get into the Scarlet Knights’ goal. Fans in attendance jumped up in their seats as Reapple nearly tied the game at 1-1 going into halftime.
Colgate was given another scor-ing opportunity when sophomore midfielder and forward Caroline Brawner brought the ball down from mid-air and proceeded to ef-ficiently play the ball between two Rutgers defenders. This strong maneuver set first-year midfielder Jenna Panepinto up for a great well-timed shot. Unfortunately for Colgate, the shot sailed just wide of the goal.
Perhaps Colgate’s strongest attempt at a goal came when Brawner one-touched the ball to senior captain, Patriot League MVP and forward Jillian Kinter inside the box. Kinter continued Colgate’s strong offensive ball movement by finding sophomore midfielder Emily Manoogian, who proceeded to fire a shot on net that was blocked by senior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins. First-year Catherine Williams anticipated the block and recov-ered the ball just five yards away from the goal. Williams fired the ball at goal without hesitation but just nearly overshoot the ball over the crossbar..
The Raiders continued their strong offensive possession throughout the second half, earn-ing them scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity. Pan-epinto played a great pass to Wil-liams, who used her unmatched athleticism and ball dribbling to blow past her opponent. Williams kicked a great ball into the mid-dle of the box expecting one of her teammates to score the tying goal with such an advantageous scoring position. Yet, the Colgate offense uncharacteristically was unable to make use of such an pass, and thus William’s strong play was left unrewarded.
In the remaining 10 minutes of play, the Raiders mustered up three amazing chances at goal. Sophomore defender Chelsea Roche, played a well-placed free kick from 30 yards out right into the backside of the box. Once again, Williams found herself in the right place at the right time. Williams took her time with the shot and strategically volleyed it at net. The ball appeared to be head-ing straight for the goal but inevi-tably was kicked away at the final moment by a Rutgers defender.
The Raiders gave had another opportunity with just four min-utes to play. Sophomore midfielder Jenna Gibney played a low but hard shot from the top right corner of the box, which much to Colgate’s chagrin landed just wide of the goal.
In what would inevitably be Colgate’s last scoring opportu-nity at goal, first-year midfielder Lexi Panepinto passed an amazing shot to Reapple, who found her-self in great position for another clutch late game goal. Despite see-ing a clear opening to the goal, Reapple was unable to duplicate her late-game heroics from the Pa-triot League Championship game where she recorded the game-winning goal. Rutgers goalkeeper Simpkins once again handled Re-apple’s shot attempt. This final save on goal clinched Rutgers the hard-fought 1-nil victory.
Throughout her final game, Walsh came up huge for Colgate; grabbing spectacular saves at piv-otal times over the course of the match. Despite giving up the game winning goal early on in the game, Walsh recorded some impres-sive saves off shots from Rutgers’s leading scorer Jonelle Filigno. Even with the Raiders inabil-ity to clear the ball from near the goal, Walsh recorded three more rebound goals on Filigno which could have effectively broken the game open for the Scarlet Knights.
Even with the losing effort, the Raider had much to be proud of. The enormous hometown crowd that packed Van Doren Field was given much to clap about throughout the course of the match.
“This team is amazing,” head coach Kathy Brawn said after the game. “Tonight, everybody did a fantastic job just in their effort out on the field. But in a bigger pic-ture, I’m so proud of everything the 24 women on this team have done. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them and more, and the leadership from Alyssa Manoogian, Ashley Walsh and Jillian Kinter has been tremendous.”
“These past four years have been absolutely amazing, and this year was a great way to go out for our seniors. We couldn’t be more proud of our team right now. While this feeling is horrible, at the same time I’m so proud of what we’ve done this year. It’s hard for me to be that upset at how the game turned out because of how hard everyone worked on the field tonight,” Brawn said.
Although this final game proved to be a minor setback for the Raiders, Colgate undoubtedly achieved amazing success through-out the course of the season by bringing the Patriot League title trophy back to its familiar home in Hamilton, New York. Col-gate finished the season with an impressive 11-6-4 overall record.
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