Women’s Soccer Clinches Playoff Spot in Last Match
There were only two options for the women’s soccer team: win on Tuesday or wait until 2013 to try again. Determined to return to Middletown with a playoff berth in hand, the Cardinals would not be denied in a 2-0 win over Trinity.
The Cards came into Tuesday’s match holding down a 5-7-1 overall record and a 2-7-0 conference mark, but a win over the Bantams was all they needed. Trinity entered the match just below Wesleyan in the conference standings, making this game just as crucial for the home side. At the same time the Cardinals had the Colby-Bates match up on Wednesday in the back of their minds, as a Bates victory would extinguish any chance for the eighth and final playoff seed for the Cardinals.
The game was marked by tightly contested play through the first half. Neither keeper conceded a goal with Jess Tollman ’15 stopping four shots during her time in net. The second half, however, showed a much more inspired Wesleyan squad. With less than thirty minutes to play in the second half, Wesleyan placed an emphatic first goal on the board. Determined to play another game, quad-captain Laura Kurash ’13 made a pinpoint through ball to a well-positioned Isabel Clements ’16 who placed the ball in the lower right corner of the net for the Cardinals’ first goal of the encounter. Not only did the 62nd-minute strike put Wes ahead, it was also Clements’ first career goal.
This wasn’t enough for the Cards, who wanted to make sure there was no doubt that they were gunning for that number eight spot. In typical storybook fashion, it was Cap’n Kurash herself that scored the final goal of the season to eventually put Wes through to the next round of play. The 77th minute of play saw a textbook Kurash finish when the captain launched a one-timer off of a perfectly placed lob from Mikaela Curtin ’13. With the goal, Kurash finishes with eight in her final regular season campaign. Finishing off the shutout effort was keeper Rachel Hobert ’16, who came under a fair amount of duress in the second half, but kept her composure and kept Trinity off the board with six saves. Though they were nearly doubled in shot attempts 19-10, the Cards made the most of their chances and captured a 2-0 victory.
Still, the Cards had to hold their breath until they knew the outcome of the next day’s matchup in Maine between Colby and Bates. Fate swung clearly in the Cardinals’ favor as they got the result they were hoping for. Colby topped Bates 2-0, propelling the Cards into the NESCAC tournament. The Cards hope to keep their luck running as Middlebury awaits them at home this Saturday for their first round matchup.