Women’s soccer gains win after three consecutive non-league losses

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The Leopards jump together in celebration of freshman April McDonald’s first career goal against St. Peter’s. (Photo by Trent Weaver for GoLeopards)

The Lafayette women’s soccer team (1-3 overall, 0-0 Patriot League) secured its first win of the season as it defeated the St. Peter’s Peacocks in a non-conference match on Sunday at Mike Bourger ’44 Field at Oaks Stadium.

The team started the season 0-3, dropping games to Quinnipiac University, University of Hartford and Syracuse University.

It looked bleak again for the Maroon and White in the early minutes of the game as St. Peter’s started the scoring in the 15th minute. The shot came from point blank range and snuck past senior goalkeeper Natalie Neumann.

The Leopards retaliated 15 minutes later when a shot by sophomore midfielder Michaela Salvati was blocked and ricocheted out to Lafayette sophomore defender Gretchen Waechter. Waechter rocketed a shot into the middle of the net, tying the game.

“After having a rough start and letting up the first goal, it was nice to have [Waechter] come in with some fresh legs and produce an absolute banger,” sophomore midfield and forward Alexa Jindal said. “She always brings the heat and is someone the team can count on to make an immediate impact when she comes in.”

From that point on, the home team was able to completely control the pace of play and possession, leading to a dominant second half. 

“As a team, the beginning minutes of the second half was very encouraging,” Waechter said. “The team came out strong putting hard, early pressure onto our opponents.”

In the 46th minute, senior forward Sara Oswald sent a pass to freshman midfielder April McDonald. McDonald launched the ball into the back of the net for her first collegiate goal, giving the Leopards a 2-1 lead. 

McDonald’s teammates were ecstatic for her accomplishment.

“The energy was brought up knowing we were still in the game,” Waechter said. 

“The most memorable play was April’s goal,” Oswald added. “It was the first goal very early in the second half. The game had slowed down, and we had a rough first half, so April’s goal set the tone for the rest of the game.” 

In the 53rd minute, Oswald received a pass from Jindal and scored to give the Leopards a 3-1 lead. 

Lafayette finished the afternoon with 11 shots taken compared to St. Peter’s five. Both teams had four shots on goal.

“[Rory Schauder’s] leadership as a senior captain out of the back helped the team come together in the second half and project our style and intensity of play,” Jindal said.

Jindal also commended the teamwork between McDonald and Oswald. “Between [McDonald’s] eagerness on defense and ability to make penetrative runs when we need them, and [Oswald’s] excellent execution and footwork in the final third, we were bound to get some goals.”

Neumann started the game in goal for the Leopards and recorded two saves.  She was replaced for the second half by junior goalkeeper Lindsay Dewar.  

Oswald’s outlook for the team is full of optimism.

“Coming back for another season now as the senior captain, is so amazing,” she said. “I was injured at the end of last year, but I now feel healthy, have a big leadership role and am confident in coaching and in the girls. This first win has generated a bunch of momentum to carry through the season to keep winning,” Oswald said.

The Leopards will travel to Newark, N.J. this Sunday to battle The New Jersey Institute of Technology at 12 p.m.