The women’s varsity soccer team had its work cut out for it this weekend. Saturday would feature a tough Middlebury team, while Sunday was expected to be a battle against a slightly less potent Colby attack. These assumptions proved correct, as Wesleyan lost 2-1 against a Middlebury team that sits at second in the NESCAC at 6-1-1, and handily defeated a slightly weaker Colby side by a score of 4-2. Colby is currently sitting just above the conference basement with an out -of-conference record of 4-4 and an in-conference line of 1-4.
While Middlebury was expected to easily top the Cardinals, given its lofty place in the NESCAC echelon, the Cardinals proved a much tougher opponent than the home team had bargained for. Wesleyan got on the board first as quad-captain and leading scorer Laura Kurash ’13 possessed a pass from star sophomore and second-leading scorer Kerry Doyle and put it into the goal for her team-leading fifth of the season. Wes took the lead into halftime and looked to continue its solid NESCAC play. Unfortunately, despite the stellar play of dependable frosh keeper Jessica Tollman, who collected a solid seven saves on the day, Middlebury equalized in the 54th minute off the foot of star sophomore Scarlett Kirk. The teams remained tied into the second overtime period, when Kirk, the NESCAC leading scorer and two time NESCAC player of the week award recipient, found the back of the net again. Kirks two-fer capped a big come from behind win for Midd, whose offense has been the story of the season in the NESCAC.
The ride home from Middlebury couldn’t have been fun, but the Cardinals came out determined to regain some in-conference points against Colby. In the first 10 minutes, the game already looked lost for the home team. Colby scored twice in the first ten, 3’ and 7’ goal times respectively, and seemed posed to knock Wes out of its current placement in a playoff seat. Wes came surging back, lighting up the scoreboard like no other time this year, and finished the game with the most goals the team has scored all year. Hannah Stone ’15 scored her first career goal in the 10th minute to bring the gap to just one goal and prove to the Mules that the game was far from over. Nine minutes later, Kerry Doyle ’14 drove home the fourth goal of the game and the second for Wes, which had evened the tilt nearly as quickly as it had fallen away from them.
The score would hold till halftime, and suddenly a game it looked like Wes would lose was up for grabs. The teams played 27 minutes of scoreless ball in the second half before Kurash again proved her mettle by scoring off of a corner kick for the eventual game winner, and her 6th goal of the season. Kurash added another for good measure in the 83rd minute, when she stole the ball from a Colby defender, ran at goal, stepped around the keeper, and scored her seventh of the year into an open net. She now sits high as the third leading scorer in the NESCAC this year with seven goals and two assists, for 16 points. Doyle, who added an assist on the corner Kurash knocked home, joins her on the NESCAC leader board with three goals and four assists, good for 10 points and the seventh leading scorer spot in the NESCAC.
Both games, though tough, were winnable for Wesleyan, who collected ample chances to score in both. By adding a loss to accompany the win this weekend, the team currently sits at 7 in the league of 11 (conference: 2-4, out-of-conference: 4-4). While a 7th place finish is not the worst thing the Cardinals could do, as it would guarantee them entry into the NESCAC playoffs, they will no doubt look to improve upon their current record when they play Roger Williams on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and clash with conference basement-dweller Bates on Saturday, Oct. 8. Both of the those games are at home.