By Michael Battista
The women’s soccer team began the regular season with a road win on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The team defeated Ursinus College, 4-0, and extended its current winning streak to three games.
While away from the College, the No. 12 ranked Lions had no trouble making themselves at home inside the Ursinus Bears’ end of the field. Through 90 minutes, the Lions had 23 shots, with 11 of them being on goal, compared to the Bears’ two total shots all game.
The offensive side was the dominant force of the game, maintaining possession for a majority of the match and keeping the Bears defense on their toes. Senior forward Christine Levering led the team with five shots on goal, with senior midfielder Jessica Goldman coming just behind her with four. Of the starting 11 for the Lions, seven took at least one shot during the contest. Senior midfielder Kayla Bertolino marked the scoreboard within the first six minutes. She rebounded a blocked shot for a goal and put her team up, 1-0.
After this, both sides became less offensive and more aggressive. The Lions and Bears tallied up four fouls all together in the next nine minutes. One of these came in the Bears’ box in the 15th minute, allowing senior midfielder Elizabeth Thoresen to step up and nail a penalty kick to extend her team’s lead, 2-0.
The score-line stayed the same for the remainder of the first half, but not for long into the second half. In the 53rd minute, freshman midfielder Kelly Carolan played in a shot from 40 yards out into the bottom left of the net to earn her first goal as a Lion.
Up by 3-0, senior forward Hannah Richman entered the game in the 63rd minute for Thoresen, after a round of substitutions. Richman was able to put her energy to work right away. In a corner kick, Levering crossed the ball in the Bear’s zone and Richman was able to convert a low cross into her second goal of the season and her team’s fourth of the night.
While the offensive side dominated the game, head coach Joe Russo took time in the second half to substitute out sophomore goalkeeper Nicole DiPasquale after she had started every game. He opted to put in freshman goalkeeper Alexandra Panasuk for the remaining 21 minutes of play, where she didn’t have a chance to face the Bears offense.
Coming into this year, with former Lions goalkeeper Jessica Weeder leaving the college following last season’s NCAA Tournament exit, the team had three goalkeepers on the bench ready for play: DiPasquale, Panasuk and sophomore Sam Carney. During training camp, coach Russo said that the fact the Lions had so many options in the net was a great opportunity.
“They all have done exceptionally well,” Russo said. “We’re very fortunate to have three very good goalkeepers and we haven’t really settled on one or another. It’s very open and it’s very competitive race, one that you like to see especially with your goalkeepers. So I’m excited. As we get closer we’ll have to make a decision that’s best for the group.”
During an email interview, DiPasquale said that she and her teammates were working day in and day out waiting to see what the coach’s decision would be.
“At the end of the day, Coach Russo will make a decision that is right for the team and whatever decision that may be I will stand by it,” DiPasquale said.
With three straight clean sheet wins to her name, the young sophomore may be in the front running for the starting job.
The Lions come home this week and host their home opener against 13th nationally ranked Johns Hopkins University at Lions Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The team will then travel north to Wayne, New Jersey, to compete in their first conference match of the season against William Paterson University on Saturday, Sept. 16.