Women’s soccer ups record to 11-1
Now that conference play has arrived, competition for the Washington University women’s soccer team is finally heating up. The Bears received a dose of it Saturday, pulling out a 2-1 win over No. 14 Carnegie Mellon University at Francis Field.
Save for a game against No. 1 Wheaton College, the third-ranked Bears had seen scant challenge en route to a 10-1 record. In those 10 wins, they outscored opponents 45-0. One of them, however, was a 1-0 nail-biter over No. 7 Emory University in the Red and Green’s first University Athletic Association contest.
The Bears coasted to another victory Wednesday in a 3-0 win over neighboring Fontbonne University, but Carnegie wouldn’t let them scurry off to victory so easily.
The Bears took the lead four minutes in thanks to a goal from senior forward Jessica Johnson, her fifth on the season.
“It was really a nice pass, and it was nice to score early and set the tone,” Johnson said. “I think my run was well-timed and the pass was well-timed.”
In the 43rd minute, Johnson found junior forward Lillie Toaspern for her seventh goal of the year. But Carnegie snuck in a goal just before halftime, only the second allowed on the season by the Bears’ defense and the first in regulation.
“It’s really strong organization in the back—our center back and our goalkeeper work really well to communicate and organize the rest of the team really, really well,” Toaspern said of the team’s defensive strength.
Carnegie and Wash. U. played a scoreless second half though the Bears controlled the tempo with a 12-5 shot advantage. Within a span of 12 seconds, freshman forward Katie Chandler and junior midfielder Anna Zambricki almost scored goals to extend the lead.
Regardless, the Bears’ nearly spotless record remained intact, and so did their 13-game UAA winning streak. They have not lost a conference game since 2011 and seemingly have made it through the hardest part of this season’s schedule. None of their remaining six opponents, including five in the UAA, is ranked, although the Bears will close their season with four straight road games.
“In UAA, crazy things always happen, and there are rivalries with a lot of the teams,” Toaspern said. “I think people really bring their ‘A’ game when they come to play us, so we’re just taking it every game at a time and just preparing for every UAA game because they’re always very exciting.”
Head coach Jim Conlon also clarified that the opponents being unranked doesn’t tell the whole story.
“The latest rankings don’t have anyone in it, but we’ve had six of the eight UAA teams ranked in the top 25 this season—four UAA teams were in the NCAA Elite Eight last year,” he said. “Absolutely, the conference is still very, very strong, and it’s going to be a battle throughout game in and game out till the end of the season, for sure.”