Women’s soccer earns 12th win, most since ‘06

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Women’s soccer earns 12th win, most since ‘06

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While many students were studying for midterms and later enjoying fall break, women’s soccer was in action, winning two games, both with scores of 1-0.

On Oct. 13, women’s soccer welcomed Fordham to Hermann Stadium. Starting in this game for the Billikens were junior goalkeeper Mary Niehaus, senior defender Kacey Bright, sophomore defenders Carli Bond and Isabella Palazzolo, and freshman defender Julia Peterson. In the backfield was sophomore midfielder Maddie Pokorny, senior midfielders Shaney Sakamoto, Tori Marshall and Cristina Rodrigue and freshman midfielder Courtney Reimer in the midfield and senior forward Danielle Tolmais starting up front.

The first half of the game was a defensive battle, with neither team able to score before halftime. The second half started off much the same way, until senior forward Kirsten Clemens scored off a pass from Pokorny in the 55th minute. This would be the only goal for either team, as Niehaus saved a career-high seven shots in the shutout, which is the Billikens’ third three-game shutout streak this season.

The team traveled to New York for their next game against St. Bonaventure where the starting lineup was the same as the Fordham game, except for a couple of changes- Junior midfielder Lauren Tondl started in the midfield in place of Reimer and Clemens started up front in place of Tolmais.

Unlike the Fordham game, the defensive battle would last for all of regulation and would be forced into overtime. Clemens would again score the winning goal, this time in the 92nd minute off of a pass from freshman forward Evie Lavelle. Niehaus saved three shots in this game, also a shutout, moving her into an eighth place tie for career shutouts, a seventh place tie for single season shutouts, and sixth place in single season wins. Clemens’ game-winning goal moved her to second on the team for total goals and points at 12 each. Clemens also moved into an eighth-place tie for career goals (19) and career game-winning goals (seven).

The 2016 Billikens are setting or tying a number of team records also. The team’s 12 victories this year are the most since the 2006 team won 15. The team’s seven-game unbeaten streak is the first since the 2007 team went 5-0-2 during a seven game stretch. They have posted four consecutive shutout victories for the first time since 2008. Currently, the team record for single season shutouts stands at five, which was set by the 2004 and 2005 teams. SLU also ranks as a team with a very clean playing style.  They are the only A-10 team not to receive a yellow card and entered the St. Bonaventure game as one of only 10 NCAA Division I teams that can claim this achievement.

With these wins, the Billikens are now tied with St. Joseph for first place in the A-10 at 5-0-1. The Billikens and the Hawks will face off in Philadelphia today at 6 p.m. After the Hawks, the Billikens wrap up the season with three conference games; the first against LaSalle on Oct. 23 at noon, also in Philadelphia. They will return home to Hermann Stadium for two games, first against VCU on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and then against George Washington University on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. The Billikens will then head to Rhode Island for the A-10 Championship on Nov. 3.

Looking ahead to the A-10 tournament, the Billikens will likely face VCU if they remain the number two seed or possibly LaSalle if they become the number one seed, which would also entail a regular season championship. Tournament soccer is well-known for its more defensive style, and the SLU women’s team has had an airtight defense all season. If the Billikens can continue that excellent defensive form, they will feel confident that they can go far in the tournament.