Women’s soccer rolls on to victory over extended weekend
Friends and family of the Washington University women’s soccer team filled the stands at Francis Field as seniors were honored in front of the home fans Sunday. On the field, the No. 2 Bears took care of business with a 4-2 victory over the University of Rochester, which followed Friday’s 2-0 win over visiting Case Western Reserve University.
Having won their last 19 meetings against Case Western Reserve, the Red and Green looked to push that to 20 straight as they took to the pitch on Friday afternoon.
Stifling defense by both teams marked the opening minutes, but Wash. U. managed to break through in the 26th minute, when freshman forward Katie Chandler seized a loose ball in the box off a deflected cross from senior back Darcy Banco and danced around Case’s goalkeeper for the first goal of the game and her fourth of the season. It was Chandler’s first goal since Aug. 31.
The Bears began to overpower the Spartans as the second half progressed, and in the 76th minute, sophomore forward Olivia Lillegraven scored an insurance goal off a cross into the box from senior forward Becky Berels.
For the game, Wash. U. outshot Case 24-10. The Bears posted their 11th shutout of the season in the win as sophomore goalkeeper Amy French recorded four saves.
Before the game on Sunday against Rochester, the team’s eight graduating players were honored. This group of seniors has made three NCAA tournament appearances with two trips to the Elite Eight.
The seniors have “become players that we’ve counted on to lead not only the current team, but help leave the program in better shape than when they came in,” head coach Jim Conlon said.
Coming into the game on Sunday, it was a tale of two stories—the Yellowjackets of Rochester had been struggling in the month of October with only two goals in four games. The Bears, on the other hand, looked to improve their record to 13-1 on the season and remain undefeated in University Athletic Assocation play.
Senior forward Jessica Johnson led the charge for Wash. U. early as she scored two goals in the opening minutes of the first half. But a persistent Rochester squad battled back, and in the 31st minute, the Yellowjackets’ leading scorer, Jessica Smith, was able to find the back of the net off a corner kick, cutting the Wash. U. lead to one at halftime despite an 11-3 shot advantage for the Bears.
Less than a minute into the second half, Lillegraven put another shot into the goal off a feed from Berels. For Lillegraven, the goal was the 10th of the season, tying her for the conference lead in goals. With 11 assists on the season, Berels has sole possession of first place as the UAA assist leader.
Rochester’s Kathyrn Rowe again made it a one-goal game in the 52nd minute off a penalty kick issued due to a handball call on Wash. U. However, Chandler scored her fifth goal of the year and second of the weekend off an assist from Steimle in the 75th minute.
French gave up a season-high two goals in the game, but she still leads the UAA with a 0.33 goals-against average.
“[The goals were] on one corner kick and one [penalty kick], but none from scrimmage,” Conlon said. “We need to be a little tidier and capitalize on opportunities…we scored more goals than they did, and that’s what counts.”
Wash. U. has now won 15 straight UAA games and has only one regular season home loss over the past three seasons under Conlon. The team will hit the road for its final four games, three of which are conference games.