The women’s soccer team fell to Williams 4-0 last Saturday, Oct. 11. The team knew that Williams would be a difficult matchup; the Ephs went into the weekend ranked 15th in the country. The Cardinals did not let this affect their preparation, but although they worked hard, they ended the day with little to show for it.
The contest against Williams marked the first of the Cardinals’ two Little Three matchups of the season. Williams struck early, scoring in the 11th minute on a goal by forward Thomas. Thomas struck again in the 29th minute, sending Williams into halftime with a 2-0 lead. Jessica Tollman ’15 started the game for the Cardinals in net and made three saves for the Redbirds.
Williams tallied two more goals in the second half. Sticking with their usual game plan, the Cardinals switched out their keeper for the second half of the game. Rachel Hobert ’16 was able to stop five of the seven shots she faced. Lindsey Vandergrift scored for Williams in the 76th minute, and Alex McInturf struck in the 89th to push the score to 4-0. Jenny Cascino ’17 was the only Cardinal to register a shot on goal for the day, finishing the game with two.
Cascino reflected upon the game for the Cardinals.
“We’ve usually either tied or lost [our games] by one goal,” she said. “They’ve all been close except for this one. Williams is just a really good team. They have an amazing striker, [Thomas]. They’re really quick in transition, and we just faltered in defending that. They scored two goals on quick counter attacks.”
Cascino offered some thoughts about what she thought the team could do better.
“We couldn’t put together a strong enough attack to take on Williams,” Cascino said. “[They] didn’t have the greatest defense, but the one time I got a shot it was because of a [mistake]. We just couldn’t capitalize.”
Up next for the squad is a trip to Chicopee, Mass., to take on Elms College this coming Wednesday. Although it is a non-conference matchup, the game is still an important one for the Cardinals.
“[Elms] is a crucial game for us,” Cascino said. “We need to win that one. Our coach has said we need to turn things around, and that’s where it starts. Then we have Amherst on Saturday for Homecoming.”
According to Cascino, success in upcoming matchups hangs on whether or not the team can piece together success on both ends of the pitch.
“I think we just need to put together a solid offensive and defensive game in one,” Cascino said. “That’s what it comes down to. Sometimes we struggle with offense. We need to put it all together. Also, I think we need to work on our fitness. That’s something we’ve gone through. It’s just not there this year. We can’t really last and put together a full 90 minutes of quality play. We’ll be really good in the first half, and even the beginning of the second, but then fatigue will kick in. Even within the halves, the first half seems to be good before we slow down.”
Cascino identified the Cardinals’ team chemistry as a major strength of the squad.
“Yesterday I was playing next to one of our team captains,” she said. “[Brynn Hansson ‘15] can just communicate so well. Sometimes she gets more intense, but you know that on and off the field she’s going to be a great teammate. Our chemistry is important for off-the-field dynamics, but on the field, too, I think it’s crucial.”
Hopefully the Cardinals can parlay their outstanding team chemistry into a few wins in the remaining weeks of the season.