Women’s soccer duels to 2-2 draw with Wheaton

Dorian DeBose | Contributing Reporter

The Washington University women’s soccer team played two games at Francis Field last week, rolling past Fontbonne University, 5-0, in Wednesday’s Wydown Showdown before they couldn’t quite put away Wheaton College in a double overtime 2-2 tie Saturday.

In the first contest, the team looked in control from the outset. In the third minute, sophomore forward Taylor Cohen sent a through ball past the defense to junior midfielder Darcy Cunningham, who finished with a light touch to beat a good effort by the Fontbonne keeper, giving Wash. U. an early 1-0 lead.

Sophomore Caroline Dempsey takes control of the ball in the Bears’ game against Greenville last year. This weekend, the Bears’ winning streak snapped with a 2-2 draw against Wheaton (Ill.) Saturday, but the team defeated Fontbonne soundly, with a 5-0 victory last Wednesday.Aaron Brezel | Student Life

Sophomore Caroline Dempsey takes control of the ball in the Bears’ game against Greenville last year. This weekend, the Bears’ winning streak snapped with a 2-2 draw against Wheaton (Ill.) Saturday, but the team defeated Fontbonne soundly, with a 5-0 victory last Wednesday.

The majority of the early part of the game was played with the ball in the Red and Green’s possession and numerous goal opportunities. Though a few promising crosses were stopped by Fontbonne’s defense, a low cross by senior forward Mariana Alisio in the 10th minute found a streaking Cohen for an easy goal to push the lead to 2-0.

Fontbonne attempted to respond in the 13th minute with a long shot towards the right corner of the goal, but a diving save by sophomore goalkeeper Katy Hudson kept the team off the board. The rest of the half was fairly quiet, with Wash. U. looking strong defensively, but not generating the same electric chances that characterized the first 15 minutes. By the end of the half, the Bears held a 7-2 advantage in shots.

The second half began as dynamically as the first. On the first possession of the half, freshman forward Ellie DeConinck scored off a cross from sophomore forward Jesse Rubin to push the score to 3-0. The aggressive play didn’t cease after that; in the 51st minute, the team regained possession off a goal kick from Fontbonne and DeConinck blasted home a goal from outside the box off another feed from Rubin.

Shot after shot tested the Fontbonne defense, which more or less held steady until the 76th minute, when senior back Elise Brown connected on header off a free kick from junior back Audrey Freeman to close the scoring at 5-0. On the day, Wash. U. outshot Fontbonne 21-6, the poise of the Bear defense proving to be too much for the Griffins to overcome.

Riding high on the momentum from Wednesday, the Bears faced Wheaton Saturday. Early in the game, it appeared their 21-game unbeaten streak dating back to last season would be at risk: Wheaton took four of the first five shots and got on the scoreboard first in the 21st minute.

The Bears seemed to kick it into higher gear after that. In the 24th minute, Cunningham faked a pass and finished with her off-foot to tie the game. The Bears looked in control for the remainder of the half, taking eight of the final nine shots of the period.

After the break, the Red and Green looked to be in good form. Cunningham dribbled past the defense to set up a crisp shot that beat the keeper in the 48th minute. The team kept shooting and setting each other up for chances throughout the half and looked to be holding the lead heading into the closing minutes. But in the 88th minute, Hudson saved a long shot off a Wheaton free kick, and the Thunder finished off the rebound to tie the game and send it to overtime.

In overtime, the Wash. U. had multiple opportunities to score, but couldn’t convert. A Taylor Cohen header was on the mark in the 105th minute, but a great play by Wheaton’s back line saved the game.

Wash. U. finished the contest outshooting Wheaton 27-6, but only held an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal. The defense played well, as usual, but Wheaton was able to keep it close by exploiting the few chances they were allowed.

With the winning streak broken, the still-unbeaten 7-0-1 Bears will host also-unbeaten 8-0 Webster University on Tuesday.