Women’s soccer storms back to beat Rochester

| Senior Sports Editor

Coming into Sunday’s match against No. 18 University of Rochester, the Washington University women’s soccer team had played each of its 11 games this fall without ever trailing. After the Yellowjackets scored off a header in the 56th minute, however, the Bears found themselves in an unfamiliar position. They were losing. After 1111 minutes either even or ahead this season, the Wash. U. Bears were losing.

They did not stay behind for long though, scoring three goals within 15 minutes to stun Rochester and pull ahead with a decisive victory, 3-1. Senior forward Taylor Cohen built on her hat trick from Wednesday night’s win over Millikin University with two goals late and the Wash. U. defense stood strong, holding the Yellowjackets to just two shots on goal.

Grace Bruton | Student Life

Forward senior Taylor Cohen dribbles towards the opponent’s box flanked by a Millikin University defender. The Red and Green walked over Millikin, besting them 5-0 for their 7th win in a row.

Wash. U. peppered Rochester goalkeeper Emma Schechter from the start, getting off five shots within the game’s first ten minutes. By the end of the half, Wash. U. had outshot the Yellowjackets, 13-3, but the Bears had been unable to convert any of their opportunities into goals.

And then they were losing. After a cross and then a header, the ball was in the net and the Bears were down 1-0, with under a half to play.

“We upped the level of intensity once we were down a goal,” Cohen said.

Ten minutes later, sophomore Jess Shapiro prevented the ball from going out of bounds before passing it to junior Ellie DeConinck inside the box. DeConinck captured the ball and sent it flying into the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1 and freeing the Bears from their brief losing stint.

That intensity remained even after the Bears had tied it up. “We knew that we had the momentum going,” Cohen said. “We talk about ‘the next five’—how the next five minutes after you score a goal are the most important to keep that momentum high, so that’s what we did and then we executed and a couple more [goals] trickled in after that, so that was great.”

After Deconinck’s 66th minute goal, the Bears kept piling on. In the 76th minute, Cohen found herself with room to move after taking a pass from freshman Jolie Carl near the goal. She sidestepped a defender in the box to find an open lane before shooting the ball into the far left corner to put the Bears ahead, 2-1.

“It was a perfect slip ball from Jolie and I was going to shoot it but then the defender kind of stepped and I took a little touch around her,” Cohen said. The Yellowjackets, who just ten minutes earlier had been ahead of the top-10 Bears, stood frozen, looking stunned and dejected as the ball settled in the back of the net.

Cohen did not stop with her first goal. Only four minutes later, she struck again, this time sliding to send the ball into the goal after DeConinck sent a long cross in from the far right corner.

“It was great,” Conlon said. “You can take an ever bigger deep-breath after the second goal and Taylor’s a great player.” The game-winning goal was the 15th of Cohen’s career, which puts her at the fourth-highest all-time for Wash. U., in reach of the record 18 set by Lori Thomas between 1995 and 1998.

After the game, the focus was on the team’s resilience. “It’s really good to see how we responded [to being down a goal] because, yes, it hasn’t happened yet this year, so it was really good to see how that lit a fire under everyone and that we came out strong and hard,” goalkeeper junior Emma Greenfield said. “I don’t know what clicked, it was just that something changed. Everyone came out; it was like a new us, which was exciting.”

The win, which brought Wash. U. to 10-1-1 on the season, was the Bears’ eighth in a row and the 200th of head coach Jim Conlon’s Wash. U. coaching career. “It’s humbling. It’s a great feat that goes to all the women that have played,” Conlon said. “Their commitment and level of excellence is really the reason we’re winning games.”

The Bears continue their conference play next weekend with a match against Emory University in Atlanta on Saturday at 11 a.m. “Emory is always a battle—it’s a street fight basically in that game,” Greenfield said. “It’s a fun game and we look forward to it every time. We’re going out there looking at how we can come out right at the beginning, ready to punch them in the face, basically.”

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