The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s soccer falls to Penn, Princeton game postponed

Junior midfielder Abby Miles controls the ball. (Photo courtesy of @lafayette_womens_soccer on Instagram)

Last Thursday, the women’s soccer team faced its most challenging opponent yet, the University of Pennsylvania, which was yet to lose at home. The team was unable to overcome the Quakers’ balanced attack after ceding a goal late in the first half, losing the match 1-0.

This was their second loss of the season, as they’ve started their 2023 campaign by winning four out of their last five games in out-of-conference play.

The match, played at Dunning-Cohen Champions Field in Penn Park, saw a battle of two strong defensive teams, as the Leopards had only conceded three goals in their last five games. The start of the games saw little action near the net, with both teams’ defensive qualities being the talking point of the first 30 minutes.

Eventually, the deadlock was broken, with Penn scoring in the 41st minute. The score remained the same for the remainder of the match despite efforts from the Leopards to equalize. Junior midfielder Abby Miles, first-year midfielder Nadia Zaffanella and junior forward Alexa Jindal all put shots on goal; however, none of them managed to find the back of the net.

“I think the Penn game was not a good representation of our team,” junior defender Lauren Stewart said. “Penn came out in a formation we have not seen yet this season and we failed to adjust. Despite losing the game, I think a few positive things came from it.”

Since the start of the season, Stewart has played more than 60 minutes in every game, tallying a total of 453 minutes this season. Her presence at the back has been impactful, with Lafayette allowing the least amount of shots taken against them out of all Patriot League teams — 62 since the beginning of the year.

“First, even though Penn had the majority of the possession, we did an excellent job defending and not allowing them to have many clear opportunities,” Stewart said. “Second, losing that game made us even more eager to get the win against Holy Cross on Saturday.”  

The Leopards’ current record stands at 4-2. Their other loss came against Stony Brook (3-1).

“I think [we have] been great as a group,” junior defensive midfielder Michaela Salvati said. “Our defense has been very solid, with our keeper included. They’ve really kept us in the games we have played so far.”

The Leopards were supposed to play the Princeton Tigers at Gummeson Grounds on Sunday. However, due to continual rainfall and lightning, the match was rescheduled to Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. The Leopards will now turn their focus to the start of their Patriot League season this Saturday at home against Holy Cross. 

“Even though we were disappointed with the game being canceled against Princeton, we are very positive and excited going into our first Patriot League game,” Salvati said. 

“I am very hopeful for the start of the Patriot League this week,” Salvati said. “We have played a lot of great soccer in our non-conference games and I am excited to continue that in the league.”

The goal amongst the team is clear, with hopes of making the tournament at the end of the conference season.

“[We are] confident that we will make the tournament this year,” Stewart said. “We have been playing very well, and if we can continue that in November, I think we have a chance to win it all.”

The team will remain in Easton for the next two weekends, with its 2023 Patriot League season commencing on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Holy Cross at Gummeson Grounds. The Leopards will then continue at home, facing Lehigh the following week on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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