Women’s Soccer Draws Camels

By Alex Morris

The Middlebury women’s soccer team opened conference play with a 1-1 home draw against Connecticut College on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Despite an unusually short preseason and annual difficulty of forging a new team with lots of new faces, Head Coach Peter Kim went into the match positive of what his team could achieve.

“Our team’s strengths include its work rate, technical ability and tactical flexibility,” Kim said. “Our biggest challenge will be simply to come together as a relatively young team. We have lots of talent, and many of our players just need more game experience. In less than two weeks we’ve already shown excellent depth, leadership and team spirit.”

The two sides began the half with equal opportunities to score. The Camels opened scoring in the 13th minute after Annie Higgins sent a low cross into the box. Finding Nicole Medina, the striker needed only one touch to send the ball into the left side of the goal past Emily Eslinger ’18.

Refusing to back down, Middlebury kept up the pressure and answered with a goal of their own just four minutes later. Grace Woroch ’17 collected a loose ball close to the right sideline and sent it towards goal with Amy Martin ’17 on the receiving end. Martin had to think

quickly, shrugging off defenders to strike the ball into the upper-right corner.

The score remained at one goal apiece going into the intermission. With rain picking up, neither team could manage many shots on goals in the second half.

Middlebury’s greatest chance to move ahead was in the 58th minute, as Captain Hannah Robinson ’16 let rip a firecracker from 20 yards out, challenging Camels keeper Bryanna Montalvo into a fine save.

With six minutes to go in regular time, Conn. College almost secured an advantage. Higgins tried to knock down a skipping cross from the right, narrowly missing crossbar.

The deadlock continued into both overtimes. After the first overtime in which each team had just one shot, play opened up in the second extra session. In the 102nd minute, Montalvo came off her line to deny a sprinting Jamie Soroka ’16 from 25 yards out. Soroka continued to challenge, sending a free kick curling toward the left side of the goal that the Camels keeper needed to dive to save. Robinson joined the onslaught with a shot from the left just minutes after forcing a diving save from Montalvo.

Katherine Hobbs ’17 feels that her team’s performance was a positive start to the season.

“It was hard to swallow the tie since we know we could have come away with the win, but we fought a hard battle against the defending conference champs and saw lots of positives in our play,” she said.

The Panthers held a narrow 17-14 edge in shots, while the Camels had four corners to Middlebury’s three. Eslinger made two saves in the opening half, while Kate Reinmuth ’17 closed out the game making four saves. Soroka finished with five shots, a game high.

Kim’s goals for the rest of the season are simple.

“Our goal for the season is to enjoy every day that we have together. The team is focused on the process of preparing for each match and performing well one game at a time.”

Middlebury returns to NESCAC action on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Amherst.

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