The women’s soccer team lost a pair of hard-fought games over fall break. On Homecoming Saturday, the team battled Amherst. Although they played an even game for the first 75 minutes, the away squad broke the scoreless tie in the 76th minute when Amherst’s Rachael Abernethy was able to find the back of the net. Abernethy netted another goal in the 84th minute to ensure Amherst’s victory over the Cardinals. Jessica Tollman ’15 made four saves, keeping it a close game throughout despite Amherst’s 15-9 advantage in shots. The Cardinals played an encouraging second half: Even though they allowed two goals, they outshot the Lady Jeffs 6-3 after halftime.
Following Homecoming Weekend, the Cardinals hosted NESCAC rival Trinity on Tuesday. In another tough 2-0 loss, the team once again put forth a great effort well past halftime. However, Trinity was able to strike in the 72nd minute, as well as the 83rd, with Nicole Stauffer making both goals. Tollman once again played an outstanding game in net, turning away nine shots by the Bantams. The two losses over the past week drop the Cardinals’ record to 1-10-2 on the season.
Head Coach Eva Meredith, now in her 11th season in this position, saw some encouraging signs from her squad.
“We stuck to our game plan of playing compact and linking units together better than in previous games,” Meredith said. “We defended really well. Unfortunately, we continue to struggle to capitalize on opportunities.”
Meredith also reflected on her goaltender’s outstanding play.
“Jessica Tollman has had some very high-level performances throughout the season, keeping us alive in close games,” Meredith said. “She has played at the top of her game, which has helped when the team is not finding the net on the other end.”
Meredith also commented on one of her team’s overall strengths: chemistry both on and off the field. However, she added that this chemistry still needs to manifest itself more strongly.
“We need to be more demanding of each other on the field both in practice and in games, and still know that we will stay best of friends off the field,” Meredith said.
In order to win the remaining few games on the schedule, the Cardinals must be consistent and stay cool under pressure, according to Meredith.
“[We must] put in 100% effort and avoid making costly mistakes at crucial times in the game,” Meredith said. “We have to believe that we can win a couple of these final games and that it will be enough to get us into the playoffs. [There is] still much to play for.”
Although it has been an up-and-down season for the team, Meredith is glad that some of her younger players have been able to see the field and gain some experience.
“[The younger players] now have some experience playing in a very tough league and knowing what it feels like to not get out on top in these games,” Meredith said. “Hopefully it will spark the desire to want to train harder, play over the summer and do better next year as [upperclassmen].”
Overall, Meredith acknowledged that is has been a tough season. However, there are some positive signs to take away from the year the Birds have had.
“We have had a tremendous amount of injuries, which takes away the day-to-day and week-to-week consistency that you need,” Meredith said. “The back four has changed from game to game due to injuries. As a coach, and a team, you need stability in the back, which we have not had. We knew scoring would be a challenge since we lost our natural forwards from last year. Scoring goals is trained from an early age and hard to teach. We’ve competed as hard as we can under the circumstances. We have a larger senior class and hopefully we can win a couple of the remaining games for them.”
The team finishes up the season with two games in the coming week. They will travel to Middlebury on Saturday before closing out the regular season at home against Conn College on Tuesday.