Women's soccer downs Skidmore 4-0, wins third straight to start the season

Sarah Scire '20
Sarah Scire '20

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Women's soccer (3–0, 2–0 in the NESCAC) continued its unbeaten start to the season with a 4-0 victory over Skidmore. Forwards Alison Lu '20 and Sarah Scire '20 each scored twice for the Ephs.

The first half contained plenty of passing and forward movement from each side, though scoring chances were few.

Skidmore attackers Emma Basso and Yasmine Bouakri put pressure on the Williams defense in the opening minutes. Victoria Laino '21 was forced to make two strong tackles, and Liz Webber '20 blocked a cross to avoid potential danger.

In the eighth minute, the Ephs threatened while attacking down the right wing. Natasha Albaneze' 18 put in a cross that connected with Lu, but the striker's effort went over the bar. Another early chance came when Sarah Kelly '20 sent a delightful cross into the box. It nearly found Natalie Turner-Wyatt '19, but the ball ended up with the keeper.

A Williams giveaway in the 17th minute set up an opportunity for Skidmore. Goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill '19 dealt with a shot taken by Basso inside the penalty area. The Thoroughbreds' Courtney Shaw also forced a save from Barnhill in the 33rd minute, but the All-NESCAC goalkeeper stood strong.

In the 36th minute, the Ephs found their breakthrough. Tri-captain Evan Gancedo '18 took a pass from Sarah Hollinger '19 at the edge of the box and found Scire all alone in front of the Skidmore goal. A composed finish from Scire made it 1-0 Williams.

Scire had another opening just three minutes later, when Mikayla Kappes '21 played her through. However, Skidmore goalie Alyssa Rollins came off her line and smothered the ball after the attacker's first touch.

The first half ended 1-0 in favor of the away side. Skidmore recorded two shots on goal in the half, while Williams had only one.

Shortly after restart, the Thoroughbreds went on the attack. Christina Sanzari managed a shot on goal. Williams tri-captain Danielle Sim '18 also cleared a Skidmore cross.

In the 48th minute, however, the Ephs would double their lead. Following a long punt from Barnhill, Albaneze played a ball for Lu past the Skidmore defense. On the breakaway, Lu rounded the keeper and scored on the wide-open goal to make it 2-0.

Lu found the net again in the 65th minute. Albaneze played her through again, and Lu outraced the rushing goalkeeper to the ball. Her sliding effort knocked the ball into the goal, as she tallied her third goal of the season.

Scire rounded out the scoring on a 68th-minute penalty kick. After Lauren Brown '19 was knocked over in the box, Scire scored from the spot, equaling Lu's mark for the team lead.

The women finished the game with a 19-7 lead in shots and an 8-4 lead in shots on goal. Barnhill made three saves, and substitute Whitney Lincoln '20 made one. Rollins made four saves for Skidmore.

Head coach Michelyne Pinard discussed her team's offensive outburst.

"We've been working hard at trying to get in behind other teams' back fours," Pinard said. "We took chances today to do that, and it played out well. It was also exciting that our conversion rate was high."

Pinard said the team has increased its pace of play early in the season.

"We're 10 days into 2017, we're playing at a faster pace," she said. "We want to play at that pace for all 90 minutes, though."

She said she wants the team to diversify its attack and be able to use its options all over the field.

"Our goal is to see what space we're given and use that," she said. "As we get more confident in our system and our passing, I think we'll be able to take advantage of that space."

Williams will travel to Colby (1–0–1, 0–0–1 in the NESCAC) next Saturday to play a conference game at 11 a.m.