Friday afternoon, the women’s soccer team ramped up for their final three games of the regular season by planning to knock out two in one weekend. Case Western was to serve as the team’s warm-up game before the ladies took on the third-ranked Tartans of Carnegie Mellon on Sunday. It proved to be nothing more than that.
“Our team has been really coming together and playing as a cohesive unit these past couple weeks,” second-year Kelsey Moore said, reflecting on the team’s three-game win streak heading into the weekend. “We definitely haven’t been perfect, but there is no doubt how hard we’ve been working and how much we are willing to continue to work to make it to the post season.” Chicago did just that against the Spartans.
In just the third minute of play, the Maroons found the back of the net. First-year Jenna McKinney played the ball to fourth-year Julia Ozello down the left edge of the 18-yard box. Ozello then slid the ball across the mouth of the goal to an oncoming Moore and the second-year tapped the ball across the line to put the Maroons up 1–0.
The Chicago women dominated the remainder of the game. Case rarely found themselves in the attacking third of the field, and when they did they were absolutely abysmal. They tallied only two shots on goal, and neither of them remotely tested first-year goaltender Piper Mik.
In the meantime, the Maroons continued to apply pressure. In the 30th minute, Moore struck again. After the Spartan goaltender mishandled a cross, fourth-year Naomi Pacalin blasted one towards the net. After a deflection, Moore was able to gather the rebound and put the ball away for her second goal of the game.
Despite consistently holding possession, the Maroons were not able to take many shots on goal and by game’s end, the score was still 2–0. The Maroons then prepared for their game Sunday against No. 3 Carnegie Mellon.
Sunday morning did not fare as well for the South Siders, and the first half of the game was a defensive battle. Each team had a few chances, but neither was able to put any numbers up on the scoreboard. Behind the dominating play of goaltender Katie Liston, the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon were able to shut down the occasional Maroons’ attack. Her stellar performance continued throughout the game. The Maroons defensive play, however, did not hold.
Said Moore on the tough game, “we expected Carnegie to be a solid opponent, and they were. But we definitely had them on their heels for most of the first half and had our chances to score as well. Unfortunately, they put their chances away.”
In the 58th minute of play midfielder Tori Iatorola was able to chip the ball over Mik and score to put the visitors up 1–0. The goal forced the Maroons to play more aggressively and in the 71st minute they felt the repercussions of the aggressive play style. The Tartans struck again after the ball was knocked around a few times in the box. The Maroons gave up a third when Carson Quiros went unmarked on a corner kick and then a fourth just two minutes after that.
The Maroons were able to get one back in garbage time after a shot from second-year Madori Spiker hit the post and fourth-year Mary Bittner collected the open net rebound, but it was not enough. The scoreline was a bit harsh to the Maroons, and the 4–1 result is certainly worse than the women deserved.
However, Moore is optimistic about Chicago’s ability to rebound from the loss. “I have no doubt that if we see them again in the post season we will give them a run for their money. This is a tough loss, but it only makes the stakes for Saturday’s game that much higher and gives us even more of a reason to come away with a win,” she said.
This weekend the Maroons conclude the regular season with a home game against Wash U, which will also serve as Senior Day to honor the eight fourth-years on the squad.