October 5, 2007

Win gives women’s soccer push for UAA

With the UAA season about to switch into full swing, women’s soccer picked a good time to get back in the winning column.

Traveling to Lake Forest (5–5–1) to take on the Foresters, the Maroons (6–2–2) outshot their opponent 22–5 to secure a 1–0 victory and some valuable momentum ahead of its Saturday clash with 10th-ranked Carnegie Mellon (5–4–1, 0–1–0).  Third-year winger Olivia Ndyabagye tallied the squad’s lone goal off an assist from second-year forward Brooke Bontz.

Scoreless at halftime despite an 11–1 shot advantage, the Maroons broke the goal drought 55 minutes in on a superb connection from Bontz to Ndyabagye. Taking the ball down the left wing in transition, Bontz sent a service into the box, where her teammate dove to head  the ball into the back of the net. With the Chicago back line continuing to shut down the Foresters and the Maroons dominating possession, it was all the visitors would need. Fourth-year goalie Amanda Sutter earned her fifth shutout of the year and second in as many games with two saves.

“We were terrific,” head coach Amy Reifert said. “We were great on each end of the ball. We were fabulous. We dominated in every sense of the word. I was frustrated that we didn’t score, but we were the hardest team out there.”

“We definitely felt like we dominated possession. We just didn’t have that quick decision in the box to get the goal,” third-year central midfielder Siggy Nachtergaele said.

The win was the squad’s first since a 2–0 victory over Illinois Wesleyan September 12. The squad went 0–2–2 during that stretch, with a pair of draws sandwiching losses to Carthage and UW–Stevens Point. With the trip to Pittsburgh, and subsequent league clashes at Stagg with Brandeis (6–3–1) and 19th-ranked NYU (10–0–1), the Maroons will look to get on a hot streak before their October 20 showdown with top-ranked Wheaton (11–0–0).

After a rocky start to the fall campaign, the Tartans strung together a three-game winning streak against regional competition—outscoring opponents 11–0 during that stretch—before running into the prohibitive favorite for the UAA title in their conference opener last Sunday. Taking on the fourth-ranked Wash U Bears (10–0–0) in St. Louis, Carnegie battled its hosts evenly for the first 70 minutes but conceded two goals in a three-minute span to drop the match 2–0.

“I think it’ll be a fast-paced game with a lot of balls back and forth,” Reifert said. “I think it’ll be a typical UAA brawl. They’re very physical. They work and they play hard and compete for every ball. There is not going to be anything easy about that game.”

“They’ve always been a fairly physical team and that tends to get us a little chaotic,” Nachtergaele said. “It’s one of those games where we sort of play down to their level and don’t play as organized. I think we’ll control possession a little bit more than we usually do.”

Leading the way offensively for the Tartans, third-year forward Abigail Coffin presents the biggest threat to the Maroons’ back line. Coffin was nailed shut by Wash U, but has tallied seven times on the season after notching eight strikes a year ago. Last season, the Maroons held off a tough Tartan challenge to take a 1–0 home victory in their UAA opener.