Women play better defense, can’t score

Ted Johnson

Two conclusions can be made about the most recent match played by the LU women’s soccer team.
First, the defense has gathered itself together after a 5-0 loss to Carroll College and a 5-1 loss to Monmouth. The ladies in the back held Illinois College, Saturday’s opponent, to only one goal.
For opposing teams, that means if Lawrence plays defensively as well as it did on Saturday, they will need some luck, or ability to draw fouls, in order to score. This was indeed the case for Illinois College, who won 1-0.
The second conclusion that must be drawn is that the Vikings have stumbled offensively, connecting with the net only once in the last week.
The Vikes started with Jackie Bean and Pam Golemgeski on the attack, and a somewhat new lineup in midfield, probably due to the fatigue caused by the weekend’s double-header.
Notably missing from the starting lineup were Jules Eggum, Beth Shaker and Crystal Castillo.
However, Bean’s energy and speed in the front and right-mid Leah Eisner-Pryor’s tenacity around the ball in the midfield kept possession for the Vikings.
Golemgeski and Bean worked together well on the attack and found an opportunity early on in the game. The IC keeper could not hold on, and one of the two struck the ball again in response, but again the keeper stopped the ball, this time wrapping it up.
Bean, dodging and dribbling through the IC defense, fired again but landed the ball somewhere in the treetops bordering the field. The game was balanced.
Illinois College played well through their midfield, but once they passed the ball through to their strikers, they could not free themselves for open shots.
When Lawrence regained possession, the ball always found its way to the right side, where Eisner-Pryor fought for control of it, often passing back and forth with Ashlee Moore.
It was midway through the first half when two of Lawrence’s defenders converged on advancing striker Mandy Hays, who fell to the ground. An official called a foul, and Hays calmly buried the ensuing penalty kick.
Predictably, star LU midfielder Jules Eggum entered the game to help the Vikings retaliate. Castillo appeared on the field shortly thereafter.
The Viking defense avoided further penalties but continued to play aggressively, and IC was awarded two free kicks, both of which LU goalkeeper Candice Gangl saved.
On the other end of the field, the Vikings let opportunities pass them by. Halftime came and went, and it found a less active and visibly tired LU team running quite a bit due to necessary clearances from defenders Amanda Follett and Nicolette Riggins.
Indeed, Lawrence put on a spectacular show and at times looked fearsome and aggressive.
Two IC players hit the deck early in the second half, and no foul was called. The last quarter of the game, defensively, was dominated by wing back Laurel Benson, who time and time again rejected IC’s lobs with powerful headers.
The Vikings, in spite of their defensive effort, could not score, though Moore and Bean came extremely close on a couple of occasions. The Lawrence women next take on Clarke College at Alexander Gym on Saturday.