Women’s Soccer’s Late Goal Bests Colby

By Alex Morris

The Middlebury women’s soccer team came from behind in the final minutes to stun Colby with a 2-1 victory on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The Mules took control of the game in the opening stages, and converted their only shot of the first half just four minutes into the match. Annie Papadellis capitalised on a miscommunication by the Panther defense that left her open in the box, scoring with a low shot into the right corner.

Despite going behind so early in the game, Middlebury began to grow into the contest, controlling the lion’s share of possession.

The Panthers committed a lot of bodies forward seeking an equaliser, and sometimes left themselves open to the counterattack. The Panthers’ defense was especially troubled by the pace of Papadellis, as the Mules forward continuously weaved around the back line.

Middlebury was left to rue many missed opportunities towards the end of the first half, as the quick feet of Colby keeper Emily Brook and numerous bodies in the Colby box limited the amount of Middlebury shots on goal.

Scarlett Kirk ’14, currently tied with the school’s scoring record, was unable to put away her chances, frustrated by Colby’s double-teams. Her best chance came in the 32nd minute as she split the defense after a feed from Julia Favorito ’14, but could only watch as her shot just went wide.  Just minutes from the break, Kirk was able to round the keeper after she had mistimed her run, but her shot bounced off a defender for a corner. While Middlebury looked threatening on all their corners, the Panthers were unable to rectify the 0-1 score line by the end of the the half.

Middlebury was unable to settle into the start of the second half, with impatient play that often resulted in passes to Colby players. However, the Panthers calmed their nerves and pressured the Mules deep into their own half. In the 52nd minute, Kirk forced the Colby keeper into a double save before the ball bounced to Kate Raszka ’17. Raszka ran into the shot from the top of the box, able to hit a fizzer with her first touch into the top right corner with Mules keeper still out of position from Kirk’s attempts on goal.

As well as being able to help her team, Raszka’s goal also gave her a sense of individual accomplishment.

“I had my mid-season meeting on Thursday and one of my goals was to score,” Raszka said. “It felt great to accomplish this and hopefully it will be a good starting point for me to continue off of.”

The Panthers were bolstered by the equaliser, and began to look more confident in the game. Middlebury continued to pressure Colby and looked likely to go ahead several times. Kirk was thwarted yet again, this time by the bar, in the 70th minute after a through ball from Carter Talgo ’15.

Middlebury’s breakthrough finally came in the 85th minute, after a cross from senior captain Moria Sloan ’14 found its way over Kirk and Mules keeper to Katlyn Casey ’15 waiting at the back post.

“I was so excited that I almost threw up,” Casey said.

The Panthers finished the game strong, refusing to sit back and instead continued to attack, something that head coach Peter Kim think bodes favorably for the team’s future.

“I think coming back so late demonstrates our resilience and resolve,” Kim said. “They know that they have lots to learn and improve on, but it shows a commitment to get a result, and courage to come back so late in the game.”

The team is in a strong position in the NESCAC standings and will travel to Tufts on Saturday, Oct. 5.