The Cardinals continued their strong play from the season opener, doubling their win total from last season.

The women’s soccer team went 1-1 this weekend, losing to an explosive St. Lawrence University squad on Saturday, and beating Albertus Magnus College on Sunday.

In the first match of the weekend, the Cardinals took on the Saints, who came into the game undefeated and having outscored opponents 15-1 in their first three contests.

St. Lawrence struck first in the 55th minute, when Kaleigh White finished a square ball across the six-yard line from Katie Stames. Undeterred, Wesleyan answered just six minutes later, when Madeline Keane ’16 received a cross from Carly Swenson ’17, took on two defenders, and struck a beautiful shot from sixteen yards out which beat the Saints keeper high.

Unfortunately, with just over five minutes remaining in the contest, the Saints struck again to give them the edge needed to defeat the Cardinals. St. Lawrence’s Samantha Rock just barely managed to squeak a ball by a diving Megan Hanan ’18 for the winner.

Wesleyan’s play was commendable overall, and St. Lawrence Head Coach Franco Bari noted what a difficult game they gave the Saints .

“Wesleyan applied a lot of pressure and not only tested out team defense but was extremely effective in preventing dangerous opportunities for us,” he said in a recap on the St. Lawrence website.

Despite the loss, Swenson said that the match was valuable for the Cards.

“Although we lost to St. Lawrence, playing their team was a learning experience,” she said.  “Their team provided us with great competition and I would say that it was an even match throughout. Defensively I think we are now able to learn from simple mistakes in the back. On a positive note, our worth ethic was strong throughout the game and our forwards’ creative runs helped create many scoring opportunities.”

The Red and Black bounced back from the loss on Sunday when they traveled to New Haven and defeated the Albertus Magnus College Falcons, 1-0. Victoria Matthews ’17 scored the lone goal of the contest. In the 57th minute, she collected a pass from Ellie Dempsey ’17 just inside the box and chipped the Falcons goalie, finding the back of the net with flair. Imogen Nelson ’19 also had a significant scoring chance, but she was denied by a diving effort from the Albertus Magnus netminder. Madeleine Keane ’16 led the Birds with four shots.

The Cards’ defensive play was stellar. They held the Falcons to only seven shots, and allowing just one scoring chance in the final twenty minutes of play. The defense was anchored by keepers Megan Hanan ’19 and Olivia Gorman ’19, who combined for the shutout. Gorman played just over 27 minutes in her first collegiate appearance, and turned aside a dangerous Falcon shot in the 74th minute to preserve the win. Overall, however, Wesleyan dominated play, outshooting their opponent 15-7.

The season is certainly off to a good start, with the Birds having already doubled their win total from last season. As Swenson noted, the team has started to consistently create scoring opportunities, an area where they struggled last season.

In the back, Wesleyan has given up just two goals in its first three games, and has seen stellar play from not one but two goaltenders. Though injury had made the position a concern for the Cardinals during preseason, Hanan and Gorman have proven that they both have what it takes to keep the ball out of the net.

The squad begins its NESCAC campaign this week with a home match at Jackson Field against Tufts University on Tuesday at 4:30. Last season, Wesleyan earned its sole NESCAC point against the Jumbos with a 1-1 tie in Somerville. Hopefully, playing in the birdcage will give the team the advantage they need to earn the win.

Tufts enters the matchup at 1-1-0, after suffering defeat at the hands of Lesley College last Wednesday, and earning the victory against a talented Colby on Saturday.

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