Women’s soccer ends non-conference schedule

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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The women’s soccer team defeated the Bethany College Swedes 3-1 on Saturday, Sept. 27, at Liston Stadium. Its winning streak is now at three straight games, tying a season high.

Sophomore Krista Hooper started the attack right out of the gates as she fired off two shots in the first five minutes. Seniors Shelby Schiraldi and Bailey Sosa contributed to the pressure the Wildcats were putting on Bethany’s keeper early in the game.

Women’s head coach Davy Phillips sits on the bench in silence after receiving a yellow card from the officials. Both Phillips and Bethany’s head coach Sean McMannis received yellow card warnings during the game on Saturday.

The story of the night, however, was junior Jenna Carducci.

Sixteen minutes into the first half, Sosa played a beautiful ball down the near touchline and Carducci ran it down five yards from the backline. Carducci turned and lofted a ball toward the back post. The Bethany goalie did not get a good read on the ball and with her late reaction she had no chance to keep Carducci’s shot out of the net. Carducci struck from outside the penalty box and found the side-netting to give Baker a 1-0 lead.

Carducci wasted no time in striking again. Just two minutes later she found herself with the ball at her feet inside the 18. She took one touch and fired a right-footed rifle that clanked off the back post and in for a 2-0 Baker lead, and Carducci had tied herself as the team’s leader in goals this season with three.

In the 23rd minute, the Swedes fired back. Sophomore Sarah Henderson dribbled up from midfield and found herself with some room. From 28 yards out Henderson blasted a low line drive that went through the wickets of Baker’s senior goalkeeper Rachel Theobald and rolled into the back of the net to put the game back to a one-goal difference.

Six minutes later sophomore Keeley Atkin had another impressive shot that found the top right corner off a Schiraldi set piece but this one was called back after she was called offside.

At halftime, Baker clung to a 2-1 lead.

Right after the half Atkin received a cross in the middle of the box. She lobbed a pass up for Sosa, who went right back to Atkin. Atkin somehow managed to keep the ball on her foot as four Bethany defenders closed in on her. Atkin finally managed to get a shot on frame from just outside the 6 and toe-poked the ball into the goal to put the Wildcats up, 3-1, with 42 minutes to play. Atkin put herself back on top as the team’s leading scorer with her fourth goal of the year.

Bethany had its best and last quality opportunity in the 59th minute of play when Henderson dribbled the length of the field and found herself directly in front of Theobald in the box, wide open. Henderson fired but Theobald redeemed herself from earlier and made a strong save on a point-blank shot.

The 3-1 score would hold final for Baker’s third consecutive win. The Wildcats rattled off 19 shots compared to Bethany’s 14. The two goal scorers, Carducci and Atkin, led the team with three shots apiece.

Theobald made five saves on the night and is allowing an impressive 1.1 goals per game.

The Wildcats will open conference play at 5 p.m. Saturday at Benedictine in Atchison. The Ravens come into this game 9-1-0 and are second in the nation in scoring with 40 goals in just 10 games.