Lawrence’s women’s soccer team got back into their groove as they beat Illinois College 3-2 in conference play on Saturday, October 1. The Vikings were coming off of back-to-back losses against the likes of nationally-ranked Loras College and top Midwest Conference side Lake Forest, so naturally there were questions about the team’s confidence going into what seemed to be an early must-win conference match against the Lady Blues of Illinois College (also referred to as IC). But all fears were put to bed at the Banta Bowl as the Vikings came out on top.
Still, Lawrence got off to the worst possible start as IC’s Kristin Ray scored in the 12th minute to take an early 1-0 lead. But in what would become a recurring trend, Cambrie Rickard equalized soon after in the 19th minute. She then doubled her tally on the day to complete the turnaround soon after, putting away a beautiful ball from Natalie Linebarger in the 32nd minute to put the Vikings ahead.
The second half was mostly a very stale affair as Illinois College struggled to create anything in the attack and Lawrence sought to preserve the win. There were a few chances here and there, as Cambrie Rickard went close again several times. Lawrence pinned Illinois College in their own box with a series of corners at around the 65-minute mark butt struggled to find the goal despite a series of great crosses from dead ball specialist Emma Vasconez. IC tried to play on the counterattack, mostly to no avail. Cait Rodko was once again the team’s rock at the back as she was not beaten one-on-one throughout the entire match. Paige Ferrence was back to her energetic self following a bout with illness and was up and down the left flank all game, complemented brilliantly by the skill of Natalie Linebarger as the pair of them had the IC right back on skates all night.
The tide of the game changed in the 80th minute, however, when a defensive lapse cost the Vikings dearly. Haley Sommer nipped in on the counterattack and equalized for the opponents, leaving the score at 2 apiece with only 10 minutes to play. But all was not lost as Rickard repeated her first half heroics, securing her hat trick with a brilliant goal from fully 25 yards out within a minute of IC’s equalizer. She picked the ball up 40 yards out on a pass from Emma Vasconez, nutmegged the defender with a Cruyff turn, and smashed the ball into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. Lawrence was able to see off any late attacks from the Illinois College attackers, and the Vikings got the victory. They now sit at 1-1 in the conference.
The Vikings play again this coming Saturday, October 8 away at Knox College in another Midwest Conference match.