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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 drops game to Loyola, picks up draw against #13 Princeton

The Leopards look to get back on track tomorrow as they return home to play American University. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

This past week, the women’s soccer team (6-3-1 overall, 2-1 Patriot League) faced off against two opponents, walking away without a win. Saturday’s match against the Loyola Greyhounds (8-2 overall, 3-0 Patriot League) ended in a 2-1 loss, and Tuesday’s match against #13 ranked Princeton (6-1-2 overall) concluded in a 1-1 draw.

The opening match of the week was met with a torrential downpour, which resulted in heavy defensive play to begin the match. There was a total of just seven shots in the first 45 minutes of the match. In the 32nd minute, Loyola found the back of the net on a free kick, bringing the score to 1-0 at the half.

The Greyhounds maintained this momentum in the second half to score in the 53rd minute, leaving the Leopards at a 2-0 deficit.

The Leopards struggled to get anything going offensively until the 71st minute when senior forward Melissa Lamanna put them on the board. Lamanna beat several defenders before rocketing a shot past the Loyola goalkeeper, bringing the score to 2-1.

Lamanna concluded the match with one shot along with sophomore forward Ashley Martinho, while senior forward Sara Oswald recorded two shots.

“[Against] Loyola, our goal was, of course, to win and move up to the number one ranked team in the Patriot League,” junior midfielder Alexa Jindal said. “We were neck and neck with them in the rankings since the season started.”

Lamanna cited the weather as a factor in the Leopards’ loss, as well as some general weaknesses in their game.

“When the game started speeding up, we were a little frazzled [and] probably playing a bit too frantically,” Lamanna said. “The weather made it difficult, so a lot of chances were off of misplays. The ball was literally skipping past us, which made it difficult to adapt to the weather. Part of our game model is to keep possession of the ball, take our time and try to get on the ball as much as possible.”

Despite these challenges and difficult circumstances, Lamanna emphasized that the loss was not due to a lack of effort or preparation on the Leopards’ behalf.

“We were definitely up for it,” Lamanna said. “I think there were just some moments where things got away from us and we just weren’t able to match them.”

The effort from the Maroon and White provided a slightly more successful outcome in their second matchup of the week against the Princeton Tigers, as the game concluded in a 1-1 draw.

Princeton came out firing in the 27th minute, firing a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal to gain a 1-0 lead.

Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the first half, but in the 53rd minute, first-year midfielder Nadia Zaffanella was gifted an opportunity on a pass from senior midfielder Emily Coe. Zaffanella’s first shot was blocked, but the rebound came right back, and Zaffanella propelled a right-footer past Princeton goalkeeper Tyler McCamey to tie the match 1-1. The goal was Zaffanella’s fourth of the season, giving her the tie for the team lead.

The Leopards’ defense continued to keep the Tigers at bay. The best chance for Princeton came in the 90th minute when Heather MacNab attempted a goal, but an acrobatic diving save by sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Miniutti quelled the Tigers’ offensive threat and kept the match tied 1-1 until the final whistle.

Aside from this loss and draw, the Maroon and White have had a successful start to the season, as they stand at 6-3-1. Lamanna attributed this to a number of factors.

“I think our freshmen have been really good,” Lamanna said. “They’ve contributed a lot so far to the team culture both on and off the field. I think they’ve really helped to create a more competitive atmosphere. They’ve really helped us create more leadership in the back, which has been really effective.”

“We want to be the kind of team that plays with steel and style, which is a concept that our coach always brings up,” Jindal said. “We want to play pretty, but we also have the grit when it comes down to it.”

The Leopards remain undefeated at home this season as they look forward to their next game against American University tomorrow at 7 p.m.

“It’s amazing to have this new, beautiful home facility to protect,” Jindal said of Gummeson Grounds.

Grace Sanborn ’25 contributed reporting. 

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Luke Gutleber
Luke Gutleber, Staff Sports Writer

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