The women’s soccer team played its third consecutive double-overtime game on Saturday at Hamilton, recording its third tie of the year. Goalie Jessica Tollman ’15 kept the Cardinals in the game with her second shutout of the year, making twelve saves, but the Cards were unable to score on the Hamilton keeper as the game ended in the team’s second scoreless draw this season.
While the team is still looking for its first win of the season, things are looking up for the Cardinals, as Tollman’s recovery from a quad injury is going smoothly and the defense has been sharp the last few games. The team had only played Hamilton twice prior to the game on Saturday, Sept. 28 and had lost both times, so many team members felt accomplished after finally taking a point from the Continentals.
“I think that there were a lot of positives,” said Head Coach Eva Meredith. “Taking a point from a team on their home turf is always big. As long as we keep plugging away, I think we’re in a good spot with our goalie and defense so stellar.”
Although Hamilton outshot Wesleyan 24-8, both teams had viable scoring chances. Chrissy Gonzalez-Gandolfi ’17 had perhaps the best scoring chance of the day when she took a shot from just about six yards out that the Hamilton keeper somehow was able to handle. The Cardinals also missed a shot that fired off the crossbar, while Hamilton’s best chance came off of a corner kick in the first overtime that Tollman stopped.
Tollman is having one of the strongest years in recent memory for Cardinal goalkeepers. She currently ranks first in all of the NESCAC with a .951 save percentage, and despite having played in fewer games than the top two saves leaders, she ranks third in the conference with 39 through four games. Her two shutouts are also tied for the second-most in the conference.
Wesleyan has struggled on the offensive end so far this season, producing two goals through six games. Part of the offense’s slow start can be attributed to bad luck, as injuries have forced Coach Meredith to move non-forwards into more offensive positions. Forward Victoria Mathews ’16 has missed some time due to injury, forcing Hannah Knudsen ’14 and Gonzalez-Gandolfi, normally backs, into attacking roles. Meredith also said that she thinks Isabel Clements ’16 has the potential to become the team’s leading scorer, and believes that it’ll just take one goal from her to get going.
Up next, the Cardinals host Elms College on Tuesday, Oct. 1, marking the midway point of the season. Right now, Wes is only one spot behind Bates in the standings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NESCAC tournament. With very tight games thus far against Tufts and Bowdoin, third- and fifth-place teams, respectively, the Cardinals have proven that they can keep up with anyone in the NESCAC at this point in the season.
“The league is great this year,” Meredith said. “Everybody is beating everybody, and I think we’re going to peak at the right time.”
After a tough loss at Salve Regina on Sept. 18, in which the Cardinals were missing both of their goalkeepers due to injury, the team has recovered nicely, allowing only two goals in 330 minutes of play since then. The game at Salve Regina marked the only time the team has lost by more than one goal through six games this season, as the team’s record currently stands at 0-3-3 with an 0-2-2 record in NESCAC play.
“I think we’re in a great spot,” Meredith said. “We’ve played four overtime games, which is basically the equivalent of an entire extra game. We are working on fitness and getting stronger and playing tough and playing more physical, so as we move forward, it ought to pay off at some point.”