No. 2 women’s soccer shuts out No. 21 Emory in UAA opener
The Washington University women’s soccer team won two games last week. The first was marked by an explosive second half that led them past Webster University. The second was a closely contested match against Emory University to kick off their conference schedule.
Against Webster, the team put their opponents on the defensive early. Off the first possession, junior midfielder Maggie Crist dribbled the ball into Webster’s third of the field and fired a cross towards freshman forward Ellie DeConinck. The cross was deflected and the chance went nowhere, but it established a pattern that would repeat throughout the first half.
Wash. U. created shot after shot and controlled the flow of the game, but Webster’s defense played just well enough to keep the team off the board. The goalkeeper of Webster was instrumental in keeping the first half scoreless, getting to balls early to end scoring chances and making multiple saves on solid shots. The Webster defensive unit was also a large part of the lack of scoring. Wash. U. had to be crisp in their passes. It seemed that every pass that went a little long or cross that was slightly off target was cleared away by an amoeba-like backline that closed down to create a wall of defenders or spread out to cover attacks down the sideline.
Even with the impressive effort from Webster, Wash. U still looked in control in the first half. In the 12th minute, senior midfielder Gillian Myers fired a long shot that hit the bottom of the cross bar and DeConinck was there for a follow up, a close shot that was saved by an excellent effort by Webster keeper Aly Miller. In the 30th minute, junior Darcy Cunningham sent a low pass into the goalie box, behind the defense, and Crist got on the end of it for a powerful point-blank shot that was saved by Miller. Despite a 17-2 advantage in shots and 6-0 advantage in shots on goal for Wash. U., the first half remained scoreless.
The second half saw the same level of intensity out of the Bears’ offense, but a great deal more success. Off the kick-off, sophomore forward Taylor Cohen beat the defenders to a ball from sophomore Jesse Rubin and shot a low, bouncing ball into the back of the net to give the team the lead.
With the deadlock finally broken, the floodgates opened for the Bears. In the 50th minute, Webster blocked a free-kick from senior defender Kelly Von Zup, but sophomore defender Hannah Menard was there to finish it with a powerful shot from 25 yards out into the low corner to push the lead to 2-0. In the 71st, DeConinck received the ball and dribbled past defenders and the goalkeeper and finished into a wide-open net to make the lead 3-0. Finally, in the 88th minute, senior Allison Cerny fired a laser into the back of the net off of a free-kick to close out scoring at 4-0.
The Bears ended the game with a 36-3 advantage in shooting. Wash. U.’s looked stout as ever, stopping attacks before they had a chance to get off the ground.
On Saturday, the Bears looked to recreate their success against No. 21 Emory University in their first conference game of the year. The teams were clearly evenly matched, sparring for possession and chances early. In the 19th minute, Cohen finished a header in a crowded penalty area off a high cross from junior Caroline Dempsey to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. In the 34th, junior Jessica Ridderhoff nearly extended the lead when she rifled a shot into the crossbar that bounced into play. The remainder of the first half was fairly quiet, with neither team creating any interest opportunities.
The second half was a showcase of Wash. U.’s defense They moved as a cohesive unit to create tight spaces and force mistakes from Emory players. The team was blocking crosses, clearing slightly off target passes and closing on dribblers before they had a chance to conjure up any scoring opportunities. Emory outshot Wash. U 9-8 on the day, however, only two of those shots came in the second half. The game ended with the Bears victorious, 1-0.
The goalkeepers of Wash. U. stood out in both games. Against Webster, sophomore Katy Hutson and freshman Emma Greenfield split time in goal and both played well. Against Emory, Greenfield faced four shots on goal in the first 28 minutes and saved all of them. In six games so far, she has allowed one goal and has accumulated a record of 6-0.
With their unbeaten run now bloated to 24 games, the Bears will begin a four-game home stand on Monday against Principia College on Francis Field.