By Michael Battista
After a tough loss to end its season last year, the College’s women’s soccer team started strong in its first game. The team fought for a 3-0 win against Virginia Wesleyan College on Friday, Sept. 2, in Norfolk, Va.
Both the Lions and Marlins came out kicking early on with the home team getting the first shot against the College only three minutes into the game, going wide of the net. The Lions were able to counter back, taking their own wide shot and setting a back-and-forth tempo for the early game.
Junior midfielder Jessica Goldman said she and the rest of the team knew what they were getting into.
“We came into today knowing that Virginia Wesleyan was going to come out hard,” Goldman said. “We’ve beat them the last two years, and this was the first time playing them on their home field, so it was definitely different. They were very physical, which we had to get used to in the beginning of the game. Once we all settled down and started playing our game, our confidence just grew.”
The Lions took three shots on goal in a 13-minute span, while they held Virginia to none. The Marlins couldn’t muster a single shot on goal during the first half.
Goldman was able to sink one of those shots into the net off an assist from senior forward Christina Levering in the 21st minute to put the Lions on the board, 1-0.
“I knew that a goal was coming. We were in their half for the majority of the first half,” Goldman said. “And once we got the first goal, the team really just came together and made sure we were only increasing the lead from there.”
Two minutes later, Goldman’s prediction came true, as Levering sank her own goal off an assist from junior defenseman Abigail Emmert, putting the team up, 2-0.
The two teams were silent for the rest of the half, with the College outshooting Virginia, 3-1. The Marlins first shot on goal came in the first five minutes of the second half, which was saved by senior goalkeeper Jessica Weeder.
The Lions were able to get one more on the board, as freshman defender Jen McGrogan scored her first career goal in her collegiate debut off a corner kick from Goldman.
“The feeling I got scoring that goal was probably the best feeling ever,” McGrogan said. “I got a rush throughout my body — words could not describe how ecstatic I was. Then being able to celebrate with my teammates in the moments after — especially Jessi for her outstanding corner kick — made me overjoyed. Having my teammates around me equally as happy just made the moment unforgettable.”
Goldman, who got an assist on McGrogan’s goal, said McGrogan’s play during the game was great.
“Jen played really well the entire game,” Goldman said. “She was extremely solid in the back and helped us get a shutout, which is always a main goal of ours. We got a corner in the second half, and Jen got in the box and took her chance. It was a great goal, and it was especially important because it was the third goal, and 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in soccer.”
As one of many new faces, McGrogan has impressed veterans on the team. McGrogan joined freshmen midfielders Haley Bodden and Alexa Beatty as they took shots during the match and kept pressure on the Marlins.
Goldman is impressed with the talent of the new group.
“This year’s freshman class is one of the most talented I think we’ve had in awhile,” Goldman said. “There are so many good girls, it’s honestly so hard to single out people. They are a bunch of hard workers who are already so devoted to the team. Their passion really shows.”
The Lions win on Friday was their only one this weekend, as the following day’s game against Christopher Newport University was cancelled due to weather caused by Tropical Storm Hermine. The team looks forward to its next matchup against Johns Hopkins University on Saturday, Sept. 10.