The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Defense prevails as women’s soccer notches close wins against Holy Cross, Lehigh

Senior forward Sara Oswald dribbles past a defender. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The women’s soccer team (6-2 overall, 2-0 Patriot League) defeated Holy Cross 1-0 this past Saturday in its first Patriot League match of the season. The Leopards then continued their winning streak Wednesday night at Gummeson Grounds against Lehigh in their rivalry matchup, topping the Mountain Hawks 1-0 thanks to a goal from senior forward Sara Oswald in the 32nd minute.

The Leopards are undefeated at home so far this season.

Senior goalkeeper Lindsay Dewar and first-year midfielder Nadia Zaffanella both won Patriot League weekly awards for their performances against Holy Cross. Dewar won her second Goalkeeper of the Week award of the season while Zaffanella, who scored Saturday’s game-winning goal, was named Rookie of the Week for the second time. She also received an Offensive Player of the Week award earlier in the season.

Dewar earned her award after holding the Crusaders scoreless. The game marked her third shutout of the season.

“Dewar is always a role model of mine on game days with her ready-to-go mentality and positivity,” Zaffanella said. “She had some amazing saves that kept us in the game during the first half.”

Junior midfielder Michaela Salvati praised Zaffanella’s performance.

“The transition to the college game can be tough, but I think [Zaffanella has] done very well and has really been contributing to our success,” Salvati said. 

The team’s victory was particularly special as it took place during its alumni celebration weekend. 

“All the current players wanted to put on a good performance for the women who paved the way for us and our program,” senior forward Sara Oswald said.

Coming off of a postponed game against Princeton, the team had “extensive” time to prepare.

“We had over a week to regroup and focus our energy on the conference game,” Zaffanella said.

Though the game remained tied at zero for the first 45 minutes, the Leopards took two shots and had four corners compared to the Crusaders, who had five shots and only one corner.

Zaffanella scored the winner in the 70th minute when she took a shot off a rebound and sent the ball off the right post into the back of the net.

The Leopard’s defense held the line in the second half, only allowing three shots as the team secured a narrow win.

The Maroon and White tallied a total of eight shots over the course of the game, with five of them coming on goal. Salvati and Oswald each gave the team two shots, with junior midfield Gretchen Waechter, sophomore defender Katrina Santelli, and first-year midfielder Heather Plowright each adding one to the tally.

Dewar recorded five saves for the team and played the full 90 minutes. Her Holy Cross counterpart recorded three saves.

“I take pride in putting my best foot forward to keep the team in the game,” Dewar said.

A coordinated team performance propelled the Leopards to add to their winning record.

“The way we are playing is something we are proud of and have worked so hard together to accomplish,” Dewar said.

Moving forward, the team is focused on starting the game with more intensity.

“Sometimes it takes us time to get control of the game, but it’s going to be crucial for us to start every game in control,” Salvati said.

On Wednesday night, the team added another 1-0 victory against rival Lehigh, bringing their Patriot League record to 2-0.

The Leopards will travel to Baltimore tomorrow to face Loyola Maryland. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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Fiona Cannon
Fiona Cannon, Staff Sports Writer

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