Last weekend, the Colgate wom-en’s soccer team competed in two crucial Patriot League road bouts against conference rivals Lafayette and Lehigh. The Raiders had an up and down weekend, splitting the two games with a commanding 4-2 win over Lafayette and a lackluster 0-1 loss to Lehigh, respectfully.
Colgate began the weekend with a thrilling Friday evening game against Lafayette, which featured an action-packed first half. Colgate struck gold first in this half when talented first-year midfielder Cath-erine Williams reordered her 10th goal of the season off of a pass from surging first-year midfielder Jenna Panepinto. Panepinto facilitated the goal by passing Williams a strategi-cally placed ball into the box, which inevitably allowed Williams to fire the ball into the left side of the net at a comfortable angle and posi-tion. This gave the Raiders the initial 1-0 advantage.
Colgate extended their early mo-mentum just 30 seconds later. A strong goal from sophomore mid-fielder and forward Caroline Brawner helped push the Raiders farther ahead. Brawner received a strong feed near the penalty spot from senior forward Jillian Kinter, which allowed Brawner to put the Raider’s up 2-nil. This was Brawner’s sixth goal of the season.
Fifteen minutes later the Lafayette Leopards managed to cut the defi-cit to within one goal with a strong breakaway. Senior forward Jill Dozier completed the breakaway play with a deceptive goal past contending senior goalkeeper Ashley Walsh.
Lafayette proceeded to tie up the game when Dozier notched her sec-ond goal of the game, off of a solid assist from sophomore forward Laura Zito. Dozier scored the goal off of an unorthodox chip from the right side of the field freeing her for the relatively uncontested goal.
Unwilling to surrender control of the game just yet, Kinter would give the Raiders a much needed boost 10 minutes into the start of the sec-ond half. Kinter used her incredible footwork to back heel the ball into the net for the important 3-2 lead. Kinter was assisted on the play by Brawner who amazingly found her through traffic.
Within the span of three minutes, Williams and Kinter struck again giving the Raiders the all-important two goal advantage. This time, Wil-liams found Kinter open with a well-placed pass which allowed Kinter to blow by her Leopard defenders for the 4-2 lead.
“We knew that Lafayette wouldn’t fade, and they put us under enor-mous pressure in forging their two goal comeback. Our players showed great resolve and focus retaking and holding the lead in the second half,” head coach Kathy Brawn said.
This win increased Colgate’s Pa-triot League record to a strong 4-0-1, and therefore has clinched an impres-sive fifth straight (20th overall) Pa-triot League Tournament berth for the Raiders.
Colgate attempted to keep their Pa-triot League undefeated streak alive on Sunday afternoon with a duel against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The Raiders had the early advan-tage in the first half when Kinter al-most connected on a fantastic open scoring opportunity by outplayed a Mountain Hawk midfielder near the center of the field.
Sophomore defender Chelsea Roach added to Colgate’s momentum with a free kick after she was fouled. Despite making clean contact with the ball, Roach just nearly missed the shot underneath the crossbar.
Shortly after, Lehigh sent a long pass from the midfield to Paige Elliot which allowed her to make a strong push for the goal. However, Walsh was prepared for this offensive breakout. Walsh reached out to the quickly accel-erating ball and just managed to make the acrobatic punch save to derail the Lehigh scoring opportunity.
Lehigh recorded a 1-nil advantage early on in the second half. Lehigh’s sophomore midfielder Darby Dust-man placed the ball effectively past Walsh and into the back of the goal.
A mere minute later, Williams, the Brine Rookie of the Week, came within inches of equalizing the game when she nearly executed an offensive drive deep into Lehigh territory. Un-fortunately for Colgate, the breakaway drive was brought to an anticlimactic halt when Lehigh first-year goalkeeper Ani Nahaetian came up with a clutch diving acrobatic save.
Colgate’s final scoring opportu-nity came in the closing seconds of the game as a result of a foul which gave Roach a free kick which she placed strategically into the box.
Attempting to cash in and send the game to overtime, senior midfielder and forward Alyssa Manoogian attempted a risky header which she was unable to redirect in the position of the goal. This gave Lehigh a hard fought 1-nil game victory.
“We came out with a great attack-ing mentality today, but just couldn’t find the finishing touch. Lehigh did a good job of finding a way to win. We’ll redouble our efforts in preparing for a tough American team,” Brawn said.
This game gave Colgate its first Pa-triot League loss of the season making their overall conference record 4-1-1. The Raiders will be back on the field next Saturday when they will travel to American University to compete against the Eagles at 1 p.m.
Contact Alan Pleat at [email protected]