Women’s soccer beats Colgate for third consecutive win before season-ending loss to Navy

Lafayette+womens+soccer+celebrated+a+victorious+senior+night+game+against+rival+Colgate+after+Lamanna+and+Dowd+notched+two+headers.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Athletic+Communications%29

Lafayette women’s soccer celebrated a victorious senior night game against rival Colgate after Lamanna and Dowd notched two headers. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Colleen McNamara, Staff Writer

The Lafayette women’s soccer team (5-10 overall, 3-6 Patriot League) celebrated its five seniors on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over rival Colgate at Oaks Stadium. This was the third straight win for the Leopards before the team’s season came to an end on Wednesday night after they fell to Navy 3-1.

Despite no longer being in the running for the Patriot League Tournament, a season in which they came back from multiple injuries and had underclassmen step up on the starting line was one worth celebrating on Senior Night.

Saturday’s match was an even competition, with each team having four shots on goal. The Raiders scored first, but they gave up the lead at the 78-minute mark.

In the last 12 minutes of the game, Lafayette answered back with two successful corner kicks within three minutes of each other. Junior forward Melissa Lamanna headed the ball into the back of the net, and senior midfielder Riley Dowd did the same in the 80th minute.

Colgate responded with a corner kick that resulted in a goal, but it was ultimately disallowed due to an offside violation. 

The Leopards came to life in the second half, as they had more offensive opportunities and capitalized on two key corner kicks. Head coach of women’s soccer Mick Statham was pleased with his team’s performance. 

“I thought we played very well, and before we scored the first goal we’d done everything but score. We defended well, we passed the ball around well, the enthusiasm and energy from the team was excellent, and the confidence looked good. I was really pleased with the way we were playing,” Statham said.

Coming off two Patriot League wins in a row prior to the Colgate match, the Leopards’ game plan was working. Statham spoke on the personality and energy of his players that contributed to the win. 

“The players deserve a lot of credit. I’m really grateful for the group I’ve got because they’ve been happy, hardworking, and concentrated. Overall, they deserve to be in the spot they’re in,” Statham said. 

Statham emphasized the importance of the upperclassmen leadership.

“We’ve had a lot of thunderbolts. We’ve had a lot of injuries to deal with, and the senior group has led the way in managing and staying on course beautifully. All five of their personalities are just really happy-go-lucky and they always do everything with a smile,” Statham said. 

Senior leadership continues outside of scheduled training sessions. 

“It’s important that you have consistency of mood, and our senior group is the poster class for that, they’ve done brilliant,” Statham said. “We’re only on the field two hours a day, so there are another two hours of the day that we need to be good Leopards, and these five are great Leopards.”

One of the thunderbolts Statham was referring to is Dowd, whose goal in the second half elevated the Leopards to the 2-1 win.

“It was a crazy moment. We knew we had to win this game, we were tied 1-1, and it was off a corner, bouncing around in the box. Eventually, I just headed it in to win 2-1,” Dowd said. “Having this type of win on senior day made it even more special. We’ve come so far since our freshman year, and to get it done on senior day means so much. They’re my best friends and it was just a fantastic win.”

The season came to an unfortunate end on Wednesday at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility in Annapolis, M.D.

The Midshipmen made it on the board just six minutes in with Navy freshman forward Alexa Riddle’s breakaway goal. Just under two minutes later, Riddle found the back of the net for Navy’s second goal of the day.

Navy added to its lead in the 59th minute as a shot from sophomore midfielder Katie Herrmann made it past junior goalkeeper Natalie Neumann.

A Navy foul causing a penalty kick for Lafayette brought some hope for the Leopards as Dowd managed to convert for a goal in the 86th minute. However, with the clock not on Lafayette’s side, the team went home with a loss to conclude its 2021 campaign.