Weekend Wins for Women’s Soccer


Emma Stapleton

Middlebury Women's Soccer


The women’s soccer team had a huge weekend on the road, beating Tufts 1–0 on Saturday, Oct. 7, before heading west to beat Wesleyan in overtime on Sunday, Oct. 8. Middlebury now has momentum looking toward the conference tournament.

“Saturday and Sunday were both important wins for us, against two excellent teams,” Coach Peter Kim said. “We knew it would take a lot of focus and determination to get past both this weekend, and saw it as a challenge to achieve higher levels of play and consistency. Both teams were organized, physical, and direct, and both have very rough field surfaces.

“I think we did a nice job of solving Tufts with quick combinations, while Wesleyan required a more direct approach. Fortunately, our team is very flexible and can therefore adapt to the demands of each game we play.”

The Jumbos came into Saturday’s game with an imposing reputation, having gone undefeated in conference play thus far. Middlebury, however, didn’t allow themselves to be bullied out of their comfort zone. The game resembled most of their previous low-scoring Nescac affairs in which the Panthers, bolstered by their stalwart defense, led in both shot attempts (14–7) and shots on goal (5–3). The first period featured a good deal of back and forth in terms of possession, but both sides struggled to execute successful attacks into the other team’s territory. “I think we spent more mental energy preparing for Tufts knowing that they were undefeated in the NESCAC and would be a really fierce competitor,” she said. “They play a very direct style of soccer and we struggled at first to get the ball down on the ground. Once we figured this out, we were able to be much more successful.”

Middlebury certainly elevated their game in the second half, in which they recorded all five of their shots on goal. Nevertheless, they couldn’t help but keep the fans on the edge of their seats, waiting until the 87th minute to finally convert on an attempt. Virginia Charman ’20 lobbed a cross to Van Voorhis, who headed the ball just off the crossbar. Thankfully, Eliza Robinson ’21 was waiting and ready to gather the rebound and push the ball past the keeper into the back of the net. Neither team scored for the rest of the game, giving Middlebury the 1–0 victory.

The shutout was the third of the season for Ursula Alwang ’20, a total in which the contributions of the Middlebury defense have played a large part as well.

Middlebury didn’t have as much time to celebrate as they might have liked, since they had to hop on a bus to Middletown, Connecticut to take on Wesleyan the next day at 11 a.m. Although the Cardinals came into the match with a record of 1–4–1, the margin of defeat in each of their previous losses was just one goal apiece. Wesleyan demonstrated more talent than their record might’ve shown, especially in the first period of Sunday’s matchup. They outshot the Panthers 7–6, keeping the visitors on their heels for much of the half. After both Eliza Robinson’s shot on goal and a rebound attempt from Sabrina Glaser ’20 were blocked in the 14th minute, the Panthers had difficulty putting shots on goal for the rest of the period; in the meantime, the Cardinals found the back of the net in the 26th minute to give them a 1–0 lead that they would hold through the end of the half.

Middlebury played with more authority in the second half. The defense clamped down to limit the Cardinals to just two shot attempts as the Panthers dialed up their own offensive pressure, coming painstakingly close on a number of occasions. They finally hit pay dirt with just under 11 minutes remaining in the period. Van Voorhis received a corner kick from Barber at the top of the penalty box that she redirected back to Caitlin Magruder ’20, who sent a laser past the Cardinal keeper from 30 yards out.

Neither team was able to score again before time expired, sending the match into an extra period. It seemed that they were headed for another extra period until, with just seconds left before the buzzer, captain Amanda Dafonte ’19 made a charge down the right side of the field. She found Charman running along the flank. In turn, Charman placed a perfect pass just out of Wesleyan’s reach, allowing a sliding Van Voorhis to bring the game to a 2–1 close with her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

“The Wesleyan game was closer than we would have liked it to be,” said Van Voorhis. “I think we are in a great position moving into the final four games of the regular season,” said Van Voorhis.

Middlebury hosts Trinity this Saturday, Oct. 14.