Ephs down Bantams 2-0 after second-half surge

Alison Lu '20
Alison Lu '20

HARTFORD, Conn. – In a physical match, No. 7 women's soccer (2–0, 2–0 in the NESCAC) prevailed 2-0 over Trinity (0–2, 0–1 in the NESCAC) this afternoon.

The game's early minutes featured several crunching tackles and a fierce battle for possession in the midfield. Both teams applied pressure to try to win the ball in their opponents' half, but few scoring chances materialized in the first half.

In the fourth minute, Trinity's Tricia Pollock recorded the game's first shot. The ball lacked pace, however, and Olivia Barnhill '19 made a comfortable save.

The Ephs saw their best chance of the half in the 17th minute. With Bantam goalkeeper Julia Pitino off her line, a corner kick delivery fell to Georgia Lord '21 in the penalty area. Lord launched a shot at goal, but the ball took a deflection off a Trinity defender, allowing Pitino to make the save. Throughout the half, Lord's runs down the right flank caused trouble for Trinity backs.

The Bantams continued to press hard and were able to gain some extended spells of possession in the half. Despite stellar passing and movement, the Bantam attackers were unable to push deep into Eph territory, as defenders Liz Webber '20, Katelyn Long '19 and tri-captain Danielle Sim '18 kept the ball from reaching dangerous areas.

Trinity had chances on a pair of corners in the 37th minute. The second corner connected with Olga Koszykowska, but her header went beyond the post.

The first half finished scoreless, as neither side had been able to get behind the opposing defense. Williams recorded six shots (four on goal) in the period, while Trinity had three (one on goal).

The Ephs got off to a hot start in the second half. Just 3:43 into the period, Alison Lu '20 started the scoring. Natasha Albaneze '18 threaded a through ball to Lu, who finished with a superb chip over a rushing Pitino.

The goal was the first of the year for Lu, the team's leading scorer last season after tallying 12 as a first-year.

In the 52nd minute, Lu instead played the role of the creator. Streaking down the right side of the box, she tapped a pass back to Natalie Turner-Wyatt '19, who was unmarked at the top of the area. Her left-footed shot, however, was cut out by a Trinity defender before it reached the keeper.

Bantam midfielder Taylor Kirchgessner had a chance in the 57th minute, but her header landed wide of the net.

In the 70th minute, Erika Jung '20 played Hanna Kaeser '18 into space on the right wing. Kaeser dribbled between two defenders and sent a cross in, but Pitino reacted quickly.

Four minutes later, the ball broke nicely again for Jung, this time in the center of the field. She played Sarah Scire '20 through to goal. A defender took Scire down from behind in the box, and the referee awarded a penalty kick for the Ephs. Tri-captain Evan Gancedo '18 stepped up and buried the spot kick to give put the away side up by two.

Trinity saw another chance in the 78th minute. Rhone O'Hara played in an enticing corner that bounced dangerously around in the box. The ball found its way to Cami Beath, whose powerful shot forced an alert save from Barnhill.

The game would finish 2-0 Williams, as the Ephs' second-half surge proved decisive.

"We found our stride at the beginning of the second half, and we really started to get in behind," head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "We started playing at the pace at which we want to play."

The Ephs made twice as many substitutions in the game as the Bantams, and rested players made a difference in the late stages of the game, Pinard said.

"We're bringing players in off the bench who on any given day could be starting," she said. "Being able to maintain our level of play for 90 minutes is essential for us to win."

Pinard also praised her team's defense for preventing Trinity from creating chances.

""Dani [Sim] does a great job of commanding the back," she said. "We were very organized today. Trinity is a very good team, and I was thrilled we were able to prevent truly dangerous attacking opportunities."

Pitino, the reigning First Team All-NESCAC goalkeeper, made eight saves for the Bantams. Barnhill, last year's Second Team pick, made four en route to her first shutout of the season. Williams finished with a 13 shots – three of which were produced by Sarah Hollinger '19 – while Trinity finished with seven.

The women play tomorrow at Skidmore in a non-conference game, with kickoff scheduled at 1 p.m. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.