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 American despite close-knit play

The women’s soccer team looks to regain its stride in the second half of the season. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The women’s soccer team (6-4-1 overall, 2-2 Patriot League) looked to end its two-game losing streak on Saturday but ultimately fell short to American. The match, which was evenly contested through the first half, tilted in American’s favor towards the end of the game, ending with an Eagles 2-0 win.

The Leopards opened the match by testing the backline of their opponents. In the first half, freshman midfielder Nadia Zaffanella had a promising chance, narrowly missing the bottom right corner of the goal.

“[In the first half] we performed well, however, [we] just failed to finish our chances,” Zaffanella said. “In the second half, American had the momentum and were able to capitalize. They had more energy and [we] as a group struggled to maintain possession.”

This would be the closest the Leopards got to netting, with the score remaining zero apiece until late into the second half. American broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute. Despite the Leopards’ efforts, even bringing on an additional attacker, it was not enough to tie the game. Vulnerable in the back, they would go on to concede another goal, allowing American to take two points home to Washington.

Despite the loss, Zaffanella has been clinical in front of the goal, having tallied six goals and two assists since the start of the season. Her efforts have been highly praised throughout the season, earning both Patriot League Rookie and Offensive Player of the Week honors in the past month.

It feels good, obviously, but a lot is due to the support of my teammates and getting me the ball in scoring positions,” Zaffanella, who has been lauded by her teammates for her work ethic and leadership, said.

Senior midfielder Emily Coe, another stand-out performer, spoke to the reality of conference play.

“What I love about the Patriot League is [in] every game anything can happen,” Coe said. “There are a handful of players to look out for, but no one can be underestimated. On the day [of the match] we don’t know how other teams and players will perform.”

The unpredictability of the league makes it a spectacle for onlookers. Since the start of the season, the Leopards have not played in a scoreless game.

Despite conceding two goals against American, the Leopards’ defense has been solid with the second-lowest goal-opponent average in the Patriot League (1.00).

“[Sophomore defender] Katrina Santinelli and [senior defender] Rory Schauder have stood out for sure,” Zaffanella said. “They, as well as [senior goalkeeper] Lindsey Dewar, the three of them have been dominating and keeping many goals out.”

Dewar has stood out within the Patriot League all season, boasting the highest save percentage at 0.820. 

Although the Leopards currently sit fourth in the conference, the expectations are still high, with Zaffanella claiming they are “full of confidence” leading into their next game.

Coe mentioned how grateful the team is for the support, especially from other student-athletes. “[I would like] to say thank you to all our fans and supporters,” Coe said. “We’re so happy to be making you guys proud and [the support] doesn’t go unnoticed. And a special shoutout to men’s soccer, I think you guys celebrate our goals harder than we do.”

The Leopards travel to Massachusetts tomorrow to face conference rival Boston University.

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