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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s soccer blows out Saint Peter’s, Cunningham scores first career goal

First-year midfielder Nadia Zaffanella takes a shot against St. Josephs. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

Women’s soccer traveled to Saint Peter’s on Sunday, pulling out a comfortable 4-0 win against the Peacocks with two goals in each half. The Maroon and White are now 4-1 in out-of-conference play as they look towards the start of Patriot League play next Saturday. 

First-year midfielder Nadia Zaffanella notched the first goal in transition for the Leopards in the 10th minute of the game thanks to a slotted ball from junior midfielder Alexa Jindal. This goal was Zaffanella’s second of the season. 

Zaffanella earned both Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors for her performance.

“Going into the season, I did not expect to start, especially not the first few games,” Zaffanella said. “It’s been a great feeling, and my coaches have instilled a lot of confidence in me. It’s making the transition very easy.” 

Senior defender Lauren Cunningham noted how impressed she is with the first-years and their level of play this early in the season.

“[The first-years have] been a big part of how well we’re doing this season,” Cunningham said. “They’ve come in ready to play and ready to go.”

Reflecting on Zaffanella’s Patriot League recognitions, Cunningham noted that “she has put in a lot of work. She came prepared for the season.”

“She has worked very hard,” Cunningham said. “She’s a player who gives one hundred and ten percent no matter what and will do anything for the team.”

Senior goalkeeper Lindsay Dewar also received Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors. She played all 90 minutes against St. Peter’s, notching 10 saves. 

The Leopards continued their scoring in the 15th minute with a set-piece header by sophomore defender Katrina Santelli who was assisted by senior midfielder Emily Coe. The Leopards showcased their defense in the first half, holding the Peacocks to two shots on goal going into the break.

Cunningham took the initiative at the start of the second half, dribbling up the field and scoring a solo goal in the 49th minute. After taking the ball down the left wing, Cunningham attempted to slot a pass, but the ball was deflected back to her feet. She then took a shot on goal, which was once again deflected in her direction. The ball once again at her feet, Cunningham finally capitalized, slotting the ball into the lower left corner of the goal.

“It was like, ‘Third time’s the charm!’” Cunningham said, laughing. 

This was also Cunningham’s first collegiate goal.

“It was a really great feeling to finally be on the board with that step,” Cunningham said. “That was really exciting and it was just what we needed to put the game away after halftime.”  

The Leopards scored once more in the 72nd minute off a corner kick by Coe. Senior forward Sara Oswald took advantage of a bouncing ball in the box to score her third goal of the season. 

Both Zaffanella and Cunningham are hoping that the Leopards can continue their momentum as they prepare for the start of Patriot League play, which will begin next Saturday against Holy Cross at Gummeson Grounds. 

“Obviously, I’ve yet to play a Patriot League game, but based off of the start of the season, I think we have a good chance at being very successful,” Zaffanella said.

Cunningham agreed, saying that “the one thing about Patriot League is it’s always very close.”

“Any game could go either way,” Cunningham said. “Yes, it’s a league game, and they matter a lot, but as long as we take it game-by-game, [don’t] look too far ahead, prepare, do what we need to do and focus the week leading up to every game, there’s nothing more we can do.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Sanborn
Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.

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