Women’s Soccer Rolls Rival, Colby Mules

By Alex Morris

The Middlebury women’s soccer team bounced back in a big way on Saturday, Oct 3, trouncing Colby 4-0 to show off in front of a large crowd of parents and alumni.

From the whistle, Middlebury immediately looked to be the better team, as Head Coach Peter Kim demanded confidence and composure from his side.

“It was important for us to bounce back [from the game against Bowdoin] and they did a great job in responding positively,” Kim said. “They played a great match and played the game we wanted to play last weekend.”

The Panthers were almost instantly rewarded, when Adrianna Gildner ’17 fired a shot that deflected to Amy Martin ’17. However, Colby goalkeeper Ashley Conley shut down that attempt as well.

The Panthers looked to exploit a weak Colby defense by playing long balls to try to catch the Mules out of position. The Panthers finally got on the board in the 13th minute using their pace to their advantage. Gildner chased down a ball near the endline, and took the ball to the center before playing in Grace Woroch ’17. Woroch’s fancy footwork earned her some space before she placed the ball into the top-left corner for a 1-0 lead.

Middlebury continued to grow in confidence, easily shutting down any Colby attempt at generating offense. The Panthers were content to patiently build play and pass circles around the Mules. Middlebury, however, did suffer a blow in the injury of Alissa Huntington ’18, after the defender was taken down in the box and knocked in the ankle.

With just 31 seconds left, Middlebury doubled their tally when Martin sent a pass across the face of the goal, which Katherine Hobbs ’16 latched onto and one-touched it into the right corner to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Middlebury continued to outplay Colby in the second half. Gildner consistently outran the Mules defense to balls lofted from the Middlebury midfield, but was unable to find the mark. Jamie Soroka ’16 also went one-on-one with the Colby keeper after beating a defender, but her shot was too heavy, sending the ball sailing over the net.

However, Soroka soon scored the goal of the game. Hannah Robinson ’16 dribbled the ball around the box but was tripped and lost the ball, allowing for Abigail Blyler ’19 to pick it up and find Soroka just inside the box. Soroka took a touch then curled the ball into the top right-hand corner. 

For the rest of the game, Colby could barely get the ball out of their own half, let alone contain the constant attacking threat of Gildner. The striker finally got the goal she deserved when she tapped the ball into the net after the Colby goalie had fumbled Robinson’s cross into the box.

Gildner felt that the highlight of the game was the contribution of the attacking quartet.

“After a tough loss at Bowdoin last week the front four has been working hard to improve their runs and movement up top,” Gildner said. “It was so rewarding to see the hard work pay off and to score goals that involved the entire team. This win is exactly what our team needed to gain momentum going into our upcoming games.”

The Panthers finished the match with a 24-5 advantage, generating chances right and left in the second half. Goalie Emily Eslinger ’18 earned the win with her first shutout this fall.

Middlebury looked to continue its winning ways in the opening half against Keene State on Monday. The Panthers opened the scoring in the 12th after Amanda Haik ’17 hit the mark for a free kick. They then doubled the scoring ten minutes later when Gildner’s shot bounced on the inside of the crossbar into the net. Middlebury reaped the rewards of another set piece, when with just six seconds left in the half, Gildner sent the ball flying over KSC goalie Dani Warhall from 28 yards out.

Middlebury, however, let their momentum slip in the second half. The Owls nicked one back in the 68th minute when Tori Laires headed in Jennifer Wilson’s corner kick. Growing in confidence from this goal, Keene State produced an offensive onslaught that Middlebury couldn’t handle. The Owls scored twice in 23 seconds to tie the match. In the 83rd minute, Patricia Norton sent a through ball for Shannah Summers, who chipped the ball over Eslinger. Sierra Trzepacz then beat Eslinger off the restart on the far side to even the score.

Middlebury was unlucky not to score in both overtime periods, as Warhall denied efforts from Woroch, Robinson and Gildner. Warhall finished with a career high 10 saves, while Middlebury finished with a 19-9 advantage in shots

Middlebury returns to action at Tufts on Saturday, Oct 10, a contest Kim is eagerly anticipating.

“Tufts is a really strong team and they’re always strong defensively, so we’ll be continuing this week to look to improve our scoring ways,” Kim said.