On Sunday, Oct. 6, the air was crisp and the bright autumn sun was shining down on Whiting Field West, where the Lawrence University women’s soccer team shut out Carroll University (5-6-0, 2-2-0 MWC) for an exciting Conference victory. The win brought Lawrence’s record to 3-5-0, 2-3-0 MWC.
The Vikings struggled for possession during the first half but successfully defended their goal from Carroll’s relentless attacks. Freshman goalkeeper Dani Glass performed especially well, making a total of 19 saves to Carroll’s two. “The first half was mostly defensive,” said sophomore Kirstin Edwards. “We were adjusting to having players in new positions, and we gave up a lot of corner kicks. Defensively we were communicating really well, especially toward the end of the half.”
The momentum shifted in Lawrence’s favor in the second half. The Vikings continued to play very aggressive defense to keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard, and six minutes into the half, a beautiful collaboration led to Lawrence’s first goal of the game. Off an assist by freshman Casey Merkle, sophomore Liza Girsova used her impressive foot speed and agility to guide the ball around Carroll’s defense and into the goal. The Vikings kept up the intensity the rest of the period, and their hard work saw results again when junior Rachel Hjortness scored a nicely set up goal off an assist by freshman Sarah Zaccarine at 71:44. The ball just touched the goalkeeper’s hands, but had just the right angle and force to find its way in, widening the Viking lead to 2-0. Ten minutes later, junior Keli Muchowski scored Lawrence’s third and final goal of the game. Off an assist credited to junior Jenny Angeli, Muchowski arranged herself for a good shot and sent it in cleanly to secure the 3-0 shutout.
“We got all the nerves out of our system so the second half we were able to get more into the attack,” commented Edwards, highlighting the great goals by Girsova and Hjortness and the plays leading up to them. “It says a lot when you have people that come off the bench and make a big impact on the game.”
The Lady Vikings traveled to Madison on Wednesday, Oct. 9, for a nonconference game against Edgewood College, and will face Beloit College (2-8-0, 0-4-0 MWC) on the road Saturday, Oct. 12, followed by UW-La Crosse on Sunday, Oct. 13, at home.
“There’s this really good, positive energy on the field,” said Edwards of the team dynamic. “Out of all the games this year, our Carroll game was the most pumped up, the most heart we’ve played with all season. We played as a family. Now that we’ve learned to play with that energy, we hope it will carry over to more success the rest of the season.”