By Michael Battista
The women’s soccer team received its second loss of the year after a disappointing 0-1 loss to Montclair University’s Red Hawks on Saturday, Oct. 4. The four-game winning streak came to an end as the Hawk’s outmaneuvered the Lion’s defense after an evenly paced game.
This came after last Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Richard Stockton, in which the team was able to outplay the Ospreys, only allowing two shots on goal while having 23 shot attempts. However, the game showed the team’s tendency to miss goal opportunities, such as four consecutive uncapitalized corner kicks during the 68th and 69th minutes.
Saturday’s game against the Hawks was played mostly in the center of the field, with both teams playing to each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Both teams match up well with each other athletically,” Coach Joe Russo said. He went on to call the game “a rematch of last years conference championship game.”
The first half was defined by each team’s missed opportunities and quick possessions in each other’s zones.
It was filled with what sophomore Brianna Perto called “a lot of missed opportunities throughout.” She also contributed the ball’s tendency to stay in the middle as a mix of great defence throughout and an offence that wouldn’t quit for both teams.
The first half also showcased how rough both squads could be. The Hawks received two yellow cards in the 29th and 36th minutes, along with five fouls compared to the Lion’s one foul toward the end of the half. At times, the angry Lions crowd, made up of about 600 ticketed attendees, showed its disapproval of the Hawk’s play, wondering why there weren’t more cards.
Coach Russo, however, defended the official’s calls, saying that he “actually thought (he) did a nice job.”
The second half started with the Lions showing a more aggressive side, as the squad got more shots out early, had two corner kicks and received a foul all in the first five minutes.
While Petro thought that “the team played pretty consistently throughout the game,” she admitted that “there were more opportunities in the second half.”
While the ball continued to spend a lot of time in the middle, both ends saw more action in the second half. The Lions had 12 shot attempts to the Hawks’ five. However, it was the Hawks’ senior Francesca Gibson who was able to get past the far-up defense and kick past senior goalie Kendra Griffith as she moved up trying to make a save.
Half the crowd erupted in cheers while Lions fans were left silenced watching the ball slowly roll in.
When asked about the defense not getting back in the play, Coach Russo defended its style, saying “that’s actually what you need from your back line … stay connected to the midfield so that there isn’t large gaps between lines.” He concluded by saying that “the bigger problem is not having pressure on the ball.”
Petro agrees, believing the Hawks did a more effective job in the second half of putting “more offensive pressure” on the ball and outpacing the Lions.
After that, the game would be mostly in the Hawks end, with the Lions taking six shots.
However, the game would end like that, leaving the team disappointed but optimistic about the next game.
The team’s next game will take place on Thursday, Oct. 9, against Farmingdale State, which is coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Manhattanville.
Coach Russo believes that practice is going to remain the same despite the loss — the team is “just trying to get better.”