The women’s soccer team has certainly had a very busy last couple of weeks. After dropping a game to Williams, the Jeffs rattled off three straight wins, defeating Eastern Connecticut State Univ., Colby and Bowdoin in decisive fashions.
The team had a dream start against the rival Ephs, scoring the first two goals or the game. The host Jeffs got on the board in the 38th minute when first-year sensation Megan Kim ’16 had her shot deflected by an Eph defender. Chloe McKenzie ’14 won the loose ball and netted the ensuing shot to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Capitalizing on momentum, Hannah Cooper ’14 scored from just outside the 18-yard box following a give-and-go combination with Maggie Belnap ’15.
Williams, however, struck less than a minute before the halftime whistle. Coach Jen Hughes said that goal changed her team’s mentality. “After they scored their first goal and cut their deficit in half, we started playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” she said. “As the game went on, we started to lose confidence and Williams started to gain confidence and they put two more goals away to win the game.”
The game put the Ephs atop the NESCAC standings, likely for good. As regular season champsions, they would host the NESCAC Tournament. Hughes would like to see the two teams meet again in what probably would be the finals. “The good news is we did not play our best game against Williams…. I’m really hopeful that we’ll get to see Williams again in the NESCAC Tournament. I’m confident that we’ll give them a better game.”
In short, Hughes called the game a “good kick in the butt.” However, the team’s response to the setback has been nothing short of champion-like. Co-captain Kate Sisk ’14 was proud of how her team has rebounded. “The loss to Williams was a turning point for our season, as in our three games since we’ve come a lot closer to playing to our potential.”
The first of those three games was against Eastern Connecticut State Univ. Though ECSU struck first, the Jeffs came from behind for a 5-2 victory. McKenzie scored two goals, and Kathryn Nathan ’13, Sisk and Sarah Duffy’ 14 each added one for the road win.
The Jeffs next hosted Colby. The team was strong from the outset, scoring four times in the first half for the 4-0 NESCAC victory. Kim, Amanda Brisco ’14, Mel Stier ’15 and Duffy all found the back of the net for the Jeffs.
Sisk was proud of the effort, commenting, “We played to our strengths well, looking to play to feet and penetrate often.” She was more proud, however, to be a part of Coach Hughes’ 100th win. “100 wins in less than a decade is impressive, considering how short our seasons are. I’m really happy for Coach and am grateful to be playing for her and helping add to her success.”
The Jeffs saved their best for last, defeating NESCAC powerhouse Bowdoin 4-1. Sisk, Kim, Brisco and Duffy each scored for the team. The highlight of the game occurred in the 77th minute, when Sisk was de-cleated by a Polar Bear defender. Refusing to rest on the laurels of her team’s 3-1 lead, Sisk amazingly pushed on with one cleat. She won the ball and carried it half the field before playing a through ball to Duffy, who found the back of the net. It was the type of gritty play the Jeffs hope will come to define their season, and this type of game Hughes hopes will define their season.
“I thought Bowdoin was our best overall game of the season,” she said. “We’re finally playing with confidence and composure, and we’re just starting to hit our stride. I’m excited to take on Keene State on Wednesday!”