Women’s Soccer Falters
Homecoming sporting festivities kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Jackson Field as the Wesleyan women’s soccer team played host to Little Three rival and nationally ranked Amherst College. The parents’ weekend matchup garnered the biggest crowd thus far in the Cardinals’ season, with 350 present for the crucial matchup. Determined to defend their home territory in front of friends, parents, and alumni, the soccer team sported a newfound sense of resilience and determination in the key matchup against Amherst. This, combined with the fact that the Cardinals need to win one of their last two games of the season to qualify for the conference tournament, made the game a must-see.
The impassioned effort by the Cards sadly culminated in a 1-0 overtime loss. The heartbreaker sets the team back to a 5-7-1 (2-7-1) record with one game remaining on the season.
Amherst held strong through the full period of play, defending every Wesleyan attack to maintain their standing as the second-seeded NESCAC tournament squad. The Lord Jeffs outplayed the valiant Cardinal attack, turning away all 10 shots the home side had on net while taking 19 blasts on keepers Jess Tollman ’15 and Rachel Hobert ’16. Tollman made the start in the critical matchup, making five saves in the first half. Hobert supported the effort, posting four saves in the second half until eventually allowing the game winner in the 93rd minute of the match. The goal came just three minutes and fifteen seconds into the first half of overtime, when an Amherst striker broke into the box and blasted a shot to the top left corner of the net to secure the victory for the away side.
The end result was a disappointing one for the Cards, but the story behind the score was that of an underdog squad unflinching in the face of a skilled adversary. The form displayed by the Redbirds gives a bit of a silver lining, especially when the squad needs it as it faces the brink of elimination from playoff contention in the form of Trinity. The Cardinals currently sit on the bottom half of the NESCAC table and will not be eligible for playoff contention unless they come out of next Tuesday’s match in Hartford with a win.
To be successful on the road against yet another NESCAC opponent, the Cardinals need to maintain the same level of focus and intensity that they held through the first 90 minutes of the Homecoming game. Along with defensive staunchness, the offense will need to be effective early on in the match, sending shots in great volume towards the Trinity net to wear down their defensive end. The matchup against Trinity not only represents the last regular season of the campaign, but may also be the last time graduating seniors don a Wesleyan jersey. Hoping to turn back the clock just for a few games more, the Wesleyan seniors will look to do everything within their power to stand over Trinity when the final whistle is blown.