Women’s soccer splits weekend games

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Women’s soccer splits weekend games

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The women’s soccer team continues to play well. Following an early season weekend on the West Coast, where the team was shut out twice, the Wildcats have scored 14 goals, posted three shutouts and taken 100 shots. Those 100 shots coming after a game at Concordia-Irvine in which the team only took one shot.

“Our thought processes are different this year,” senior center back Shelby Schiraldi said. “Instead of kicking and running we’re trying to find our target and trying to find our attacking midfielder.”

Friday afternoon’s game was a thriller. The spitting rain, changing wind and frigid temperature were not the only factors. The Wildcats had to go through a feisty Wayland Baptist team from Plainview, Texas.

After a scoreless first half, the drama escalated early in the second. Senior Lesley Johnson and Wayland’s Jessica Bell went after a ball on the near sideline on a Wayland Baptist counter-attack. Johnson obstructed Bell’s chance at continuing her run and was given a yellow card.

Directly after the foul, Bell turned and grabbed Johnson by the shoulders and slammed the senior defender to the ground. The foul was not seen by any of the three officials and the scrappy second half continued. Sophomore Krista Hooper picked up a yellow card 12 minutes later after a late sliding tackle.

In the 78th minutes, Schiraldi received a pass while 70 yards away from goal.

“I was trying to play our outside midfielder, but it just happened to luckily bounce,” Schiraldi said.

Wayland Baptist’s sophomore goalkeeper Bailey Stengler came out to try and get her hands on the ball before senior Alexa Fryer or sophomore Keely Atkin could make a touch. But with a wet field at Liston Stadium, Schiraldi’s ball skipped over the head of Stengler and took one more hop into the back of the net. A 70-yard bomb and a 1-0 lead.

“I just got lucky since it was raining and it was on turf,” Schiraldi said. “I saw the goalie coming out and I was like ‘oh please bounce, please bounce!’ and it bounced and she didn’t get there and it went right over her head.”

The Wildcats would go on to keep Wayland Baptist from scoring for the last 12 minutes and picked up the team’s third consecutive win. Hooper and Freshman Megan Johnson led the way offensively with three shots apiece. The Wildcats fired off 13 shots on the afternoon.

“The whole team morale is just way different,” Schiraldi said. “Everyone is really positive and wants to play and has so much energy.”

On Saturday afternoon the women moved to North Park where the Wildcats lost in a heart-breaker to Grace College from Winona Lake, Indiana.

Grace got the scoring going early with a goal in the 10th minute from junior Jordan Hairgrove. Hairgrove fired from a few yards inside the box to beat Baker’s senior goalkeeper Rachel Theobald.

Bailey Sosa struck back quickly, scoring in the 23rd minute with her left foot and buried the equalizer past Grace’s freshman goalkeeper Abby Schue. The game remained tied throughout the rest of regulation.

In double overtime and with under 10 seconds to play, Grace College junior Carianne Sobey set up junior Meghan Wiles with a pass just outside the 18-yard box. Wiles fired a laser from 20 yards out and beat the outstretched Theobald. Wiles beat the buzzer and the Wildcats.

The Wildcats finished with 17 shots with Atkin and Schiraldi leading the way with four shots apiece. The Lancers of Grace finished with 22 shots and 14 on frame.

“No matter the outcome you grow from it,” Schiraldi said. “Our last game we lost but we’re not going to take a step back from it.”

The Wildcats’ record moves to 4-3-0, and they will take on the AIB School of Business in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, Sept. 19. Their next home game will be the Sept. 24 at Liston Stadium against Ottawa.