Holding off all challengers: Miles scores hat-trick as women’s soccer dominates Wydown Classic
The Washington University women’s soccer team improved to 4-0 this weekend, shutting out Claremont Mudd Scripps Colleges and Franklin College, 3-0 and 5-0, respectively, at Francis Field.
Wash. U. started its home-opening weekend of play on Friday, when it faced fellow 2-0 team CMS. In the 11th minute, senior back Hannah Menard unleashed a venomous strike from about 40 yards out that hit off the crossbar and into the back of the net, making the score 1-0.
In the following minutes, CMS looked for an equalizer. In the 18th minute, the Athenas’ Sarah Tocher got the ball on a breakaway, where she had the opportunity to go one-on-one with Wash. U. sophomore goalkeeper Emma Greenfield. Luckily for the Bears, Greenfield came out quickly and closed down Tocher’s angles, forcing Tocher to put her shot wide. From there, the Bears would continue their offensive onslaught, outshooting CMS 9-3 in the first half.
More of the same followed in the second half. Wash. U. dominated possession of the ball, patiently waiting for the right moment to strike. In the 60th minute, Wash. U.’s patience finally paid off. A deflection in the box allowed junior forward Taylor Cohen to score, putting the Bears up 2-0 with 30 minutes to go in the match. Then, 16 minutes later, the Red and Green’s other junior, midfielder Jesse Rubin, launched a beautiful shot from outside the box that lofted over the outstretched arms of CMS goalie Claire Hamson and into the back of the net. The match finished 3-0, as Wash. U. not only added to its streak of clean shutouts but also recorded its second game this season without allowing a single shot on goal.
It was a quick turnaround for the Bears, as they played their next match 24 hours later. Matching up against Franklin, Wash. U. looked to continue its undefeated season. The Bears’ offense got off the mark quickly, as freshman midfielder Ariana Miles chalked the first goal of her career less than a minute into the match. Senior midfielder Darcy Cunningham provided a wonderfully weighted ball into the box, and Miles was on the scene to provide a cool finish. Cunningham would then put away a goal of her own, scoring off of a breakaway in the 18th minute, making the score 2-0.
Heading into the second half, Wash. U. refused to let up, unloading multiple shots at the Franklin goalkeeper. In the 54th minute, Miles scored her second goal of the game. Cunningham played another great ball through to Miles, who slotted the ball away.
Just five minutes later, Miles completed her hat trick. Yet another through ball from the Bears proved too much to handle for the tiring Franklin defense. Miles used her speed to catch up to the pass played by Menard and converted the chance for the rare third score.
Finally, another two freshman midfielders connected for the Red and Green’s fifth goal, with Erin Flynn finishing out the scoring in the 78th minute off of a cross provided by Kally Wendler. The 5-0 score marked the final.
This was a match in which the Bears dominated all proceedings, outshooting Franklin by a stunning 43 shots to two. Miles recorded the program’s first hat trick since Anna Zambricki put away three goals against Missouri Baptist University in September 2011.
Head coach Jim Conlon, while expressing his excitement for Miles, emphasized the importance of team play.
“Obviously, Ari put three in the back of the net today,” Conlon said. “But she got some great passes from her teammates as well.”
Conlon, whose vision for the team relies heavily on good passing and well-worked team goals, stated that while individual brilliance should be applauded, he “always loves when the entire team contributes.”
Wash. U. looked the better team in each game from the first whistle, exuding the confidence of a team looking to make a run deep into postseason play. However, Conlon is still looking to take things one game at a time.
“We’re trying to get better each game,” Conlon said.
According to Conlon, the biggest thing his team took away from the weekend was “unselfish soccer,” explaining that “moving the ball to whoever’s open” has given the team more opportunities to score, and in turn, has put the team “in good positions to be successful.”
Wash. U. will gear up for its next match, when it travels to Illinois Wednesday to take on Millikin University at 7:30 p.m.