Now beyond the season’s halfway point, the Light Blue women’s soccer team (5-4-0) proved just how far it has come this season on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Ivy rival Brown (6-3-0). After struggling to generate offensive attacks and hold off opposing offenses less than a month ago, the Lions’ victory over Brown marked the Light Blue’s fifth shutout of the year and brought the Lions above .500 with a 2-0 record in the Ivy League.
Rizzo said last week that she has come to expect the team to get off to a slow start before reaching its full potential midseason. One significant factor in the Lions’ turnaround has been the offensive leadership of junior midfielders Coleen Rizzo and Beverly Leon.
“I think we’ve had that problem every year just working with new players and working out different lineups,” Rizzo said. “Recently we have been able to capitalize on our scoring chances and take better shot opportunities. It all depends on team chemistry and fluidity, which are coming together.” Rizzo and Leon each tallied a goal for the Lions against Brown and combine for seven of the team’s 11 goals scored this year. Rizzo opened the scoring with a goal in the 29th minute off an assist from senior defender Isabel King, and Leon followed suit in the 33rd minute with an assist from junior defender Maya Marder.
While Rizzo and Leon’s offensive production gave the Lions a valuable lead going into the second half, the game was ultimately won between the posts as the Lions’ defense fought off 15 shots from the Bears in the second half alone. Five of those shots were blocked by sophomore goalkeeper Grace Redmon. Head coach Kevin McCarthy cites Redmon’s presence in the goal as an essential factor in the team’s recent improvement.
“Grace has really grown with her time in the goal,” McCarthy said. “She was really good in her kicking game, and her hands were solid.”
After a strong showing on Saturday, the Lions will face Lehigh (1-8-0) in a home game on Monday night. With the matchup against Brown taking up most of the Light Blue’s preparation time this past week, the team will have to put in some tactical prep work to be prepared for Lehigh.
While McCarthy admitted that Brown was the main focus of the weekend, he is confident that the team will be ready to face Lehigh when they take the field Monday night.
“We are used to those 48-hour transitions, so we will be prepared for them,” McCarthy said.
The Lions will look to continue their balanced play on both sides of the pitch against Lehigh, which has struggled in its own offensive production this season with only one win so far. The action starts tonight at 7 p.m. at the Columbia Soccer Stadium.