Women’s soccer improved to 2-1 in the Liberty League in a triumphant win against the Ithaca Bombers. Ithaca, a recent addition to the Liberty League, came into the game 0-1 after a loss against Clarkson. The Saints came into the game with a 1-1 Liberty League record and an overall record of 6-3.
The Saints graduated two senior captains in the 2016-2017 season, so a goal for the new season is to use the experience of the three captains, Samantha Taillon ‘18, Katie Stames ‘18, and Kaleigh White ‘18, to lead the way. They also returned some key contributors, including Emily Wade ‘20, who led the team in points, assists, goals, and game winning goals as a first year, and Hannah Merriam ‘18, who was shortly behind Wade in the stats.
Adding 10 first years, and returning a large sophomore class, it is important for the upperclassmen to help the younger players get used to the faster, more intense pace of collegiate sports and help create strong team chemistry. The Saints ended the 2016-2017 season with a tie against Clarkson, and they did not make Liberty League playoffs, ending the season in fifth place overall. They entered this season with goals of making it to the Liberty League finals and getting a bid into the NCAA tournament.
The Saints came into the game fresh off a tough 1-2 loss at RPI, who remains undefeated in the Liberty League. RPI scored an early goal at the seven-minute mark of play, whereas the Saints went scoreless up until the 73rd minute, with a goal from first year Julia Mulhern. Tied at 1-1 80 minutes in, an RPI senior netted a goal, which ended up being the game winner, as the Saints were unable to overcome the deficit.
Hoping to bounce back against the Bombers, the Saints showed tremendous tenacity and work ethic on the home field. Julia Hill ‘19 stated, “We had never played Ithaca before, and knew that they were going to fight really hard until the end.” The Saints controlled the pace the entire game, scoring the first two goals, with Stames and Merriam leading the way, each with one goal. They held the Bombers scoreless until roughly the 88th minute of play, showing discipline and a strong defensive effort the whole game. Hill added, “Ithaca came out fighting in those last two minutes, but were able to hold them off.” The strong push in the early minutes also gave some of the younger players an opportunity to get experience in conference games.
The Saints will continue in Liberty League play on Saturday, October 7th, traveling to take on the RIT Tigers.
By Shayna Davner.