The women’s soccer team split its two matches last week, losing in an overtime shutout to Bates last Saturday before bouncing back in its penultimate non-conference game against Eastern Connecticut State University. They emerged as 2-1 victors on Tuesday afternoon for their first win of the season.
The Birds faced off against the Bobcats for a Saturday afternoon square dance on Russell Street Field in Lewiston, Maine. Ninety-eight minutes of scoreless play culminated in a Bobcat offensive strike. A Bates midfielder lofted a pass over the defense and found her striker, who slotted her attempt inside the left post and past Wesleyan goalkeeper Jess Tollman ’15. This ended the match just over a minute before the first overtime period was set to expire.
Tollman, who had made five saves on five shots on net before the dagger, ranks second in the conference in saves per game, at 5.17.
Wesleyan did not go without scoring chances in the game, though, and controlled possession for much of it, maintaining the marked improvement they showed in their previous match, a draw with Tufts.
In the first half, Meghan Cunningham ’18 found metal on a hard shot that ricocheted to fellow Cardinal Tess Daggett-Edenholm ’17. Daggett-Edenholm’s ensuing strike was blocked by a Bates defender, ending the possession and the chance for the Birds to grab a 1-0 lead for their second straight game.
Midway through the second half, Marisa Yang ’16 beat the defense and pursued a netter on a breakaway, but the Bates goalie cut the angle by meeting her inside the box and muffled Yang’s shot, keeping the scoreboard clean.
Shots favored the Cardinals, 15-14, as did corners, 6-4, while the Bobcats locked in a 6-4 advantage in shots on net.
Next up for the Birds was a home match against the ECSU Blue Cats on Tuesday afternoon. In the 88th minute, with the game even at one, Yang stood 12 yards from the goal with the chance to give her team the lead on a penalty kick. While the Blue Cat goalie guessed correctly on the kick, Yang still beat her high and to the right, burying the shot and taking the sticks off the scoreboard, as Wes took the 2-1 lead.
Rachel Hobert ’16 anchored the Cardinal backfield in net, making seven saves on eight shots on goal, effectively shutting down a potent Blue Cat attack.
Wesleyan’s earlier goal came in the 32nd minute, when they opened up scoring as Captain Katy Hardt ’15 sent a beautiful free kick into the box, where Daggett-Endenholm was waiting. She controlled the shot with a one-touch trap, and sunk the shot to the netminder’s left. It was her second goal of the season, and Hardt’s second assist, as well.
Leading to the pendalty kick, Yang beat the defense through the left side and was fouled inside the penalty area. She had three shots in the match, and is the only multi-goal scorer for the Cardinals this year. Yang is also the first Bird to take a penalty kick this season.
Wesleyan currently stands tied for ninth in the conference at 0-2-1. There is a strong opportunity for vertical movement, though, as matches remain against Colby and Trinity, who are tied with them for ninth, and they will also face cellar-dweller Middlebury.
Additionally, they have a short ease in the schedule, beginning next week. After almost a month of playing two matches per week, all three of their next games are on Saturdays, giving them ample time to prepare for each opponent as they enter this all-important stretch.
This weekend, the Cardinals will face off against eighth-place Hamilton. Hamilton, which is 1-2-0 in-league, will look to keep Wesleyan winless in their all-time match-ups. The last two matches have gone to overtime, with the most recent ending in a draw.
The Family Weekend game will be this Saturday at 11 a.m. on Jackson Field against the Continentals.