Women’s soccer achieves 200th win

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Women’s soccer achieves 200th win

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The Saint Louis University women’s soccer program is making a statement and quieting critics this season. On Sept. 17, the women’s squad played their final home game before the start of their Atlantic 10 schedule, against Evansville. SLU refused to let their Sept. 13 home loss to Drake deter them, and quickly found the back of the net at the 13 minute mark. Junior forward Cristina Rodriguez and junior midfielder Danielle Tolmais connected with freshman forward Maddie Pokorny at the top of the box, allowing Pokorny to slip the ball past the Evansville goalie near the post. Pokorny recorded her second goal of the season on the play, and Rodriguez was credited with her fourth assist. Evansville was unable to maneuver past the Billiken defense and headed to the locker room at half with a one-goal deficit.

The second half started much like the first, with SLU’s offense commanding the field. In the 57th minute, Tolmais crushed the ball from 16 yards out and drove in a goal near the post for her third goal of the season. Junior forward Kirsten Clemens was credited with the assist and now tallies three for the season. The two goals would seal a 2-0 victory for the Billikens and lifts their record to 5-3.

The Billikens outshot the Purple Aces 15-16 overall. Rodriguez spearheaded the offense with three total shots, two of which were on goal. Senior goalkeeper Hanna Benben is credited with her 18th win, which ties Hannah Perry for fourth place in SLU’s all-time wins list. Sophomore goalkeeper Tristin Stuteville, who started and played the second half, recorded three saves. The combined effort of the keepers led SLU to their third shutout of the season.

Head Coach Katie Shields commented on the performance, stating, “I’m pleased with the night. Not giving up any goals and responding to our Sunday result by getting a shutout was a great defensive performance from all players on the field. I thought it was some of the best soccer that we’ve played yet in the first half. If we can build on that and combine our goal scoring with our soccer, I think we will be really ready for the A-10 play.”

With this result, the Billikens have successfully assured a winning nonconference schedule with their final, pre-A-10 game against Murray State on Sept. 27. This is the first time the program has had a predominantly winning record since 2008. This victory also marks the 200th win for the women’s program.

When told about the accolade, Shields commented, “Definitely focused on the process with this group. It is great to hear, but I know we will not be satisfied unless we continue the winning against Murray State and get some momentum going into the A-10, because our focus is obviously getting into that tournament and getting into that championship game and winning that game. I think for myself and the players it reminds you of who came before you. We are only responsible this season for five of those, so it is really cool to be a part of a program with such a rich tradition…”

The women’s team will have a ten-day break to rest and gear up for their game against Murray State. Conference play begins on Oct. 1 at home against Dayton, as fellow student athletes head out to cheer on the Billikens for “Back the Bills Night” at Hermann Stadium.