Women’s Soccer Remains Undefeated

By Alex Morris

The Middlebury women’s soccer team, showing grit and determination, continued their undefeated start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Bowdoin on Saturday, Sept. 22. However, the Panthers weren’t able to build on Saturday’s result as they endured a frustrating 0-0 draw against Amherst on Sunday, Sept. 23.

In the Saturday game against Bowdoin, the match started slowly, as both sides negated the opposition’s attack and battled for possession. However, Middlebury soon grew into the game and managed five more shots on goal than the Polar Bears with linking forward play that utilized their wide players.

The Panthers started the second half comfortably dominating possession. Middlebury was able to create fast build-up play with neat, short passes. The breakthrough came for the team early after play resumed at the 51:41 mark, as the ball from Lucy Wagner’s ’14 laser-precise effort at a tight angle from the right corner took an unexpected flight path, leaving Bowdoin goalkeeper Bridget McCarthy helpless. The goal was Wagner’s first of her Middlebury career and the highlight of the double header, according to Coach Peter Kim.

Panthers goalkeeper Elizabeth Foody ’14 was never troubled by the Bowdoin attack, making comfortable saves and finishing with yet another shutout, bringing her season tally to five in five games.

The game also proved to be very physical, requiring the players to be strong with the ball as the teams committed a combined 18 fouls.

Though the Panthers entered the game with high confidence coming off the win over Bowdoin, Saturday, they were unable to make a breakthrough against Amherst in the 110-minute game on Sunday.

The Panthers applied pressure right from the outset, quickly breaking down Amherst’s forward play by limiting the player’s space on the ball. Middlebury also pushed the tempo, beating the Amherst defenders down the wings to create offensive chances.

However, despite the promising and patient build-up, the game left the Panthers wondering “what if?” after Scarlett Kirk ’14 hit the crossbar three times in the space of 53 minutes.

Her first effort came in the 10th minute as her shot hit the frame of the goal from outside the 18-yard box and the team was unable to capitalize on the rebound. In the second half Kirk hit the crossbar again, this time from close range after a pass from Rachel Madding ’13 in the 54th minute. Her hat trick of crossbar shots was completed in the 63rd minute from a free kick just outside the box.The lack of reward was a frustrating aspect of play over the weekend.

“Our offense is doing a great job, but we’re just missing the finishing product,” Kim said. Both teams’ goalkeepers put in good shifts as both Holly Burwick and Elizabeth Foody ’14 pulled off diving one-handed saves. Foody kept the Panthers in the game as Amherst finished the overtime periods the stronger of the two sides.

It was the first time this season that the Panthers were unable to find the back of the net and the first time since they drew 0-0 with Williams in the 2011 NESCAC Semifinals. However, despite the frustrated attack, the Panthers have yet to lose, and many of the team members felt that they played to the best of their abilities.

“We battled hard and we’re a little disappointed that the game ended in a tie,” said Maddy Boston ’13. “Our team is proud of the way everyone played and we look forward to meeting Amherst again later this season for a rematch.”