The women’s soccer team won the Little Three title for the first time in 37 years after tying Amherst 0–0 last Saturday. The draw, combined with the upset win over Williams earlier in the season, gave the Cards the outright title.
“It was pretty surreal and definitely nice to win that for the coaches who have put so much into the program,” said captain Julia Meehan ’20.
This result against the Mammoths came in the middle of a three-game stretch in which the Cards went 1-1-1. First, the team found victory with a win over Emerson College. After the tie against Amherst, the team fell to conference rival Tufts. Despite the later defeat, the Cardinals’ record now stands at an impressive 6-2-2.
In their first game last Tuesday after six days off, the Cards beat Emerson 3-2 at home. The game was a close one, as no goals were scored in the first half despite the Red and Black having a 12-0 shot advantage.
In the second half, Emerson got on the board first, scoring a minute and a half into it. Wesleyan responded 10 minutes later, when Grace Devanny ’23 scored off a header to tie the game up at one. She then scored again, just eight minutes later, to put the Cards ahead 2-1. Emerson responded only two minutes after to tie the score, yet Audrey Lavey ’23 struck back with under six minutes remaining in regulation. Lavey’s goal put the Cards ahead for good.
Despite the tight scoreline, the game wasn’t close on the statsheet. The Cards outshot Emerson 24-2, with Devanny totaling a game-high nine shots. On defense, goalie Sarah Hammond ’22 made one save in the victory.
With the win, the Cards were able to set a new program record of seven straight games without a loss.
After the win over Emerson, the Cards headed to Amherst last Saturday for the Little Three showdown with the Mammoths that ended in the 0-0 tie.
Throughout the game, both teams had chances on offense. However, as shots from both sides narrowly missed or hit the post, neither team could find a way to break the deadlock through the 110-minute game. On the statsheet, Amherst barely outshot Wesleyan at 16-14, demonstrating the back and forth nature of the game. Gianna Argento ’21 led Wesleyan individually in shots with three. On defense, Hammond made eight saves to preserve the stalemate and clinch the title for the Cards.
The game was also once of the most physically rough games of the year, with a total of 26 fouls.
Wes’ undefeated streak was then snapped at a program record eight games the next day, as the Cards fell to the Jumbos at home by a score of 2-0. The Red and Black again had chances to score first, but a quality opportunity hit the post. Immediately after, Tufts charged down and scored at the other end to take the lead in the 25th minute, which they wouldn’t relinquish as they added a second goal in the second half to cement the victory.
Despite no goals for the Red and Black, the Jumbos only outshot the Cards by 19-16. Hammond made four saves in the losing effort.
Although the Cardinals eventually fell to their NESCAC foe, Meehan was impressed with the team’s recent performances.
“The team has looked strong the past three games,” Meehan said. “We have held a lot of possession and created chances to score, now we just need to take advantage of those and put the ball in the back of the net when we have the chance. I think we need to take advantage of scoring opportunities early. We’re focusing a lot in practice on attacking in the final third.”
Next up, the Cards look to get back on track and in the win column in conference play Saturday at home against Bates for their Senior Day.
While Bates hasn’t taken a conference win this season, Meehan emphasized the need to treat the matchup like every other tough conference game.
“It’s definitely important that we don’t let their record impact the way we come out and play. It’s a big game for us to get a result,” Meehan said. “It’s still a NESCAC game, so we need to come out with the same intensity and fight as we would against a Williams or Amherst.”
Fellow captain Emily Ribatt ’21 added that the adversity faced in the fateful Tufts game can help the Cardinals play well against Bates on Saturday.
“I think using Sunday as a learning experience is something that can make us work even harder and have a chip on our shoulder coming into this game,” Ribatt said. “This is a great test and opportunity for us to overcome adversity and prove we are a top level team.”
David Gottlieb can be reached at email@example.com.