Women’s soccer (1-1) played a roller coaster of two games over the weekend to start the season, beginning with a thrilling overtime win on the road against Manhattan followed by a disappointing 2-0 shutout loss at home to Monmouth.
Opening the year at Manhattan (3-2), the Lions got off to a hot start with junior Alexa Yow’s goal in the ninth minute. The squad held onto the lead, blanking the Jaspers until Tara Teal’s goal in the 51st minute.
Senior Beverly Leon answered soon after off an assist from senior Natalie Melo to retake the lead, but at the 75-minute mark, the Light Blue defense surrendered another goal to knot up the score and send the game into overtime.
Though one extra period was not enough, the match was not long for another. One minute into the second overtime, Yow connected with Melo to score the game-winning goal, and the Light Blue prevailed in its first season opener since 2002.
“Momentum’s a funny thing,” head coach Kevin McCarthy said, “but it was really good because the team played some really good soccer Friday night in terms of without-the-ball, positional play. And some technical errors put us in the game being tied, but we continued to play and scored a sublime goal to win it. It was really more important that the team showed great resolve in sticking to our principles.”
But the after effects of that thriller were short-lived, as the team moved to defend home turf at Columbia Soccer Stadium Sunday afternoon. Monmouth (5-0) provided a much steeper threat right from the get-go, dominating shots by a margin of 7-1 in the first half and finishing the game 12-2. Though junior Grace Redmon had six saves on the day, it was not enough to overcome the offensive onslaught. Monmouth extended its undefeated record with its victory.
“We would have liked to have two wins, but where we are in the process, I think we’ve learned some really good lessons about what kind of commitment to our style of play is required,” McCarthy said. “Playing games against live opponents is really the best way to see the areas where we need to get better. We’ve also learned a lot about some players who have not gotten some time because of injuries.”
After splitting the two games this past weekend, the Lions will embark on a four-game road trip, where they will have to bounce back.
“Our thoughts are, one, to make sure the team recovers well,” McCarthy said. “That’s great for us in terms of developing our brand even stronger, and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Lions next play at Sacred Heart Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. to start that grueling stretch.