Women’s Soccer Wins Patriot League Tournament

Alan Pleat

The Colgate women’s soccer team claimed its 12th all- time Patriot League Championship trophy on Sunday with two memorable wins against American and Navy in the semifinals and finals of the Patriot League tournament, respectively.

The Raiders began their weekend in style with a command- ing 3-nil victory over American. Colgate immediately got off on the offensive by placing eight shots on goal to American’s three. In the 27th minute of the first half, Colgate’s offensive efforts paid off when first-year midfielder Catherine Williams broke the tie with a powerful rebound goal off a missed shot attempt from sophomore Jenna Reapple.

Throughout the latter part of the first half, Colgate contin- ued to display excellent teamwork and ball movement off of some effective passing from first-year sister act Lexi Panepinto and Jenna Panepinto. After executing a crafty parallel run through the center of the field, Jenna Panepinto barely missed a well-placed shot at net, which was deflected out of bounds for a Colgate corner kick. Attempting to take full advantage of the Raiders’ now favorable position, junior midfielder

Kelsey Hough placed an effective kick, which successfully found the head of sophomore defender Chelsea Roche. Roche proceeded to lay out a great pass to Reapple, which placed her in great position for another Colgate goal. However, Reapple was called offsides prior to shooting.

Recently announced Patriot League Player of the Year and senior forward Jillian Kinter created a breakaway opportunity in the box when she forced a turnover deep in Eagles territory. However, her efforts came to no avail when her shot attempt was saved by American goalkeeper Klare Lazor.

Early on in the second period, American nearly tied the score up when Erin Mulhern placed a strong shot deep inside the box. However, senior goalkeeper Ashley Walsh protect- ed Colgate’s one goal advantage by deflecting the ball above the net.

The Raiders responded to this early second half scoring threat with a power play of their own which resulted in a commanding 2-nil lead for Colgate. With 25 minutes left to play, Jenna Panepinto aggressively dribbled the ball down the field into Eagle territory where she efficiently crossed the ball into the box. Anticipating the cross pass, Williams ran towards the ball. Despite much contention

from the American defense, Williams was able to finesse the ball pass Lazor for the 2-nil stronghold.

Less than five minutes later, the Raiders notched their third and final goal of the game when Hough played a long pass to Brawner, who was maneuvering from the right side of the field. Brawner made an incredible save of the ball off the end line by one-timing it into the middle of the box.

As she has done so many times throughout her tenure at Colgate, Kinter powered the ball into the back of the net to give Colgate a substantial 3-nil advantage.

Colgate maintained this advantage over the remain- ing few minutes of the game, earning the Raiders a 3-nil victory and, more importantly, a place in the Patriot Championship match.

“This is a great feeling,” head coach Kathy Brawn said. “It’s not just winning the game; the way we won really stuck close to our game plan. American really came out strong and hard like we knew they would, and to get a goal against the wind like we did in the first half really was an important factor in getting the win today.” The stage was set. Colgate would have a re-match with Navy to declare the conference winner of the Patriot League. The crowd on hand for the finale was in for an exhilarating competition.

Colgate started off the championship game with great momentum, just as they had left off against American. Colgate showed great ball movement and aggression early on as evidenced by the fact that they lead 10-6 in shots at the half. However, the Raiders were unable to cash in on any of these 10 scoring opportunities.

In the last 30 seconds of the first half, Kinter played a ball down the sideline which found a cutting Williams who moved the ball onto Reapple. Yet again, she was called offsides before she could have a valid shot of goal.

The stalemate continued up until the latter portion of the second half when Colgate began to find the same offensive groove that brought them to the finals. With just seven minutes to play in the second half, Reapple scored a shot that would earn the title of Patriot League Champions for the Raiders.

The goal came off an assist from Brawner who played an amazing through-ball, dividing the Navy defense and landing right at the feet of Reapple. Knowing instinctively what she had to do, Reapple hammered the ball into the back of the net, putting the Raiders up 1-nil late into the game.

“It’s a great feeling scoring the game-winning goal, but I give all the credit to my team,” Reapple said. “We’ve worked so hard this entire season and we knew coming into today this was our game, and it was only a matter of time before we put one in.”

Navy was unable to respond to this late offensive surge from Colgate. As the final sec- onds evaporated from the scoreboard, the Colgate bench sprinted onto the field in celebration of their incredible tournament victory.

“It was a great team effort, and for Jenna Reapple to be a little bit snakebitten on scoring a goal over the last few weeks but to keep working as hard as she did and to stay determined to help out wherever she could, and for her to come up with that game-winner is really fitting,” Brawn said.

The victory moves Colgate to 8-1 all-time in the League tournament as the two seed. Moreover, the win automatically awards Colgate a berth into the NCAA tournament, which begins on Friday.

“It’s great to be coaching this year in such a positive atmosphere within our athletic depart- ment, and I’m glad that Vicky [Chun] and Ann-Marie Guglieri were here to support us and to see us win this,” Brawn said. “It meant a lot to me and I know it meant an awful lot to our team.” Colgate will host Rutgers University on Saturday at 7 p.m. to kick off their NCAA tournament campaign.