Women’s soccer takes two more in conference
The No. 5 Washington University women’s soccer team held its spot at the top of the University Athletic Association with a pair of wins this past weekend, beating New York University 2-1 on Friday evening and defeating No. 20 Brandeis University 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
“The UAA is an absolutely tremendous conference,” head coach Jim Conlon said. “For us to be sitting on top of the conference through those first four games, heading into the bye week, is huge.”
After two straight games in which the offense didn’t open up until the second half, the Bears got their offense going early against Brandeis. In the 10th minute, a perfectly executed give-and-go began with some great passing from sophomore Lillie Toaspern and junior Becky Berels and ended with senior Emily Gosché tapping the ball past the Judges’ goalie.
“We’ve been working on it in practice, and it was just a really good run by Lillie, and Becky ran all the way across, and I saw a wide open slot, and I just ran there,” Gosché said.
The rest of the first half had some action on both sides of the field, though the Bears were getting more of the opportunities as well as the higher-quality chances. A few good chances were turned away, and the Bears headed to the half up 1-0, with an 11-3 edge in shots and a 3-0 advantage in shots on goal.
“We just talked about coming out and playing strong for the first 20 minutes of the half, making sure we were pressing them,” junior Lauren Steimle said. “We knew that their backs just mainly wanted to play it long, so [we wanted] high pressure in their half.”
Things turned quickly in the second half, though. A little over eight minutes in, a free kick from the 30-yard line by Brandeis’ Kelly Peterson appeared to catch an unfortunate gust of wind, and the ball found its way over senior goalie Clara Jaques and into the back of the net.
“Peterson hit a great shot, and that’s a tough ball with the wind and that power,” Conlon said. “She hit a great shot.”
The urgency seemed to pick up from there from both sides, and it was the Judges who were getting the majority of the chances in the early part of the second half. But that shifted around the halfway mark, and moments after barely missing one opportunity, the Bears finally capitalized. Senior Allie Betley got a hold of the ball in the 71st minute on the goal line and got it to an open Steimle, who hammered it home right in front of the net.
“Allie Betley put it on my foot. It was mainly her,” Steimle said. “She did all the hard work; I just put it in. I feel like it was a great job by Allie being in a great position for the cross and me just happening to be in a good spot to cross it to me.”
From there, the Bears locked down on defense, allowing only one more shot, which was saved by Jaques in the final minute, and they held on for the 2-1 win.
“They knew that their first goal was pretty lucky with the wind, so after we got our second goal, we felt pretty confident,” Gosche said.
Wash. U. outshot Brandeis 21-11, including a 9-5 edge in shots on goal. Jaques made four saves.
On Friday, the Bears peppered the New York University goal with 16 shots in the first half but failed to find the net. However, 69 seconds into the second half, Toaspern buried a shot into the back of the net. Sophomore Anna Zambricki collected a loose ball in the 18-yard box and fed Toaspern just outside the six-yard box for the goal.
Zambricki scored 10 minutes later to push the Wash. U. lead to 2-0. Toaspern threaded a through ball between three NYU defenders, and Zambricki got just enough on the shot to redirect the ball around the keeper and send it trickling into the net.
NYU made it close with a goal in the 72nd minute off a one-timer by Amelia Hammerl, but the Red and Green defense held the Violets to just one more shot to complete the 2-1 victory. The Bears tallied 29 shots to NYU’s 20 and had 10 shots on goal to the Violets’ eight.
The Bears will stay at the top of conference play for at least another weekend as they won’t face another conference opponent until Oct. 26. But they’ll take on Principia College on Tuesday evening in a match that will play a big part in their status at the top of the Central region.
“We’ve just got to train like we’ve been doing. Right now we’ve got to focus on Principia because we also care about winning our region as well as winning conference,” Steimle said. “[Focus on] playing hard in our next couple of games so we’re ready for the rest of conference season.”
With additional reporting by Sahil Patel.