The women’s soccer team posted its fourth shutout of the season on Saturday afternoon, rolling over the Haverford College Fords 5-0 and bringing their record to 4-0.
It only took five minutes for the No. 3 Lions to strike. Senior midfielder Erin Cunliffe scored from just inside the box, beating Fords senior goalkeeper Lindsay Festa to make it 1-0. Senior forward Jamie Kunkel, last week’s leading scorer, picked up the assist.
“We’ve had trouble mounting an aggressive nature in the first half. But this game we didn’t want to wait for that second-half turnaround,” Cunliffe said. “It was really great in the fact that we were able to impose our mission and our will at the beginning of the game.”
The visiting Lions kept the pressure on throughout the first half. Senior midfielder Coleen Weber drilled a shot into the net from the top of the box midway through the period with the assist going to freshman forward Brenna Rubino. With moments left in the half, senior defender Jillian Casey netted the first of her game-leading two goals. Casey dribbled around Festa with ease to give the Lions a three-goal lead heading into the half.
Rebounds and shots-on-goal were key in the second half against the Fords. The Lions harassed Festa all afternoon, taking 14 second-half shot attempts while preventing the Fords from a single stab at junior goalkeeper Jessica Clarke or her sophomore counterpart Katie Piotrowski during the final 45 minutes. The team’s tenacity paid off midway through the second half when Casey struck again, driving a rebound past Festa to put the Lions ahead 4-0.
Junior midfielder Momoko Aoe ended the hit parade with 15 minutes to play, scoring off a crossing pass from freshman forward Ema Gimeilo and setting up the final score of 5-0.
Festa only managed to stop four of the Lions’ 22 shot attempts. The Lions have held their opponents to only four shots on goal over the last two games, something Cunliffe attributes to the team’s ability to stick to a game plan.
“We’re just focusing on what we do best. Playing to feet, finding the seams and creating great offensive opportunities for the team,” she said.
The Lions hope to continue their win streak today when they host the Swarthmore College Garnet at 4 p.m. The team will start the quest for a repeat NJAC conference title when they open up their conference schedule against the Kean Cougars on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both games will be held at the soccer complex.
Even though the Lions have four convincing wins under their belts, Cunliffe and the rest of the team don’t expect their NJAC rivals to simply hoist the white flag when they face off this week.
“You can never underestimate an opponent,” Cunliffe said. “In soccer, any team can win on any single day.”
James Queally can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org