Women’s Soccer Draws in Final Battle Before Home Opener
In its second outing of the season, the women’s soccer team was unable to break through a goalless stalemate with Eastern Connecticut State University. Although the squad has yet to register a goal this fall, the Cardinal women return to Jackson Field with a point in the standings from Wednesday’s defensive battle.
After dropping the season opener to a scorching hot Bowdoin squad, the Cards were motivated to even out their record before they returned home. However, Eastern Conn would not allow it at their expense. After full time yielded no scoring for either side, they played two periods of extra time. The ECSU defense bent but never broke, and after a 110-minute marathon of a match, the final whistle signaled that there would not be a victor.
The goalkeeper tandem of Jess Tollman ’15 and Rachel Hobert ’16 split the duty of deflecting any and all Warrior attempts. Both keepers bolstered the Cardinal defense and kept Wesleyan from dropping the match. Building off a strong showing at Bowdoin, Tollman assumed her regular position between the posts to start the match. Through 45 minutes of play, she held Eastern Conn scoreless with three crucial saves.
At the start of the second half, newcomer Rachel Hobert relieved Tollman and played through the end of extra time. Hobert made her collegiate debut in impressive fashion, as she logged 65 minutes and ensured the shutout for the Cardinals. The formidable keeper combination provides depth for a Wesleyan squad that will need all hands on deck as it enters the heat of NESCAC competition. Unfortunately for the rest of the conference, Hobert and Tollman sent a message to their competitors that, no matter who is in net for the Cardinals, goals are going to be few and far between for their rivals on Jackson Field.
The offensive side of the match was largely uneventful for both squads, with only a handful of plausible scoring attempts sprinkled throughout the extended playing time. Eastern Conn bested the Cards in total shots, 17-11, but Wes chose quality over quantity and matched ECSU with six shots on goal. Leading the way on offense, as per usual, was quad-captain Laura Kurash ’13. The senior accounted for three of those goal opportunities, but is still on the hunt for that elusive first goal of the season, along with the rest of the team.
The result points towards a trend in Wesleyan-ECSU matchups, as three of the last five contests between the two in-state rivals have ended in a draw. When Eastern Conn last traveled to Middletown in 2011, the home side was able to flatten the Warriors 3-0, which possibly indicates a bit of homesickness for the Redbirds.
That feeling will be cured on Saturday, Sept. 15, when the Tufts Jumbos come to town. Tufts already dropped its first NESCAC contest to Middlebury College, 2-0, and the Cardinals will be looking to keep the Jumbos down by procuring a first conference victory of 2012.
Following the contest, the Cards will be in store for some home cooking at Jackson Field for the next couple of matches, as Hamilton College comes to play on Sunday, Sept. 16 and Salve Regina the following Wednesday.