By Jimmy Cassidy
The women’s soccer team at Catholic University earned its sixth win in just as many games on Tuesday, September 20th, as it defeated the Eagles of Mary Washington, 2-1. The Cardinals seemed to be in control of the match for most of the afternoon, but the Eagles found the back of the net first in the 37th minute. Two second half goals from sophomore midfielder Taylor Pisk and senior forward Lindsay Aleman gave the home team the win. Catholic’s impressive start continues as their record is now 6-0, while Mary Washington drops to 4-3-1 on the year.
The Cardinals outshot the Eagles 10-5 in the first half of play, but did not generate many legitimate goal-scoring chances. Most of those shots were from distance, and the home side struggled to get the ball to their forwards and beat the back line of Mary Washington. They did control possession in the midfield, but were unsatisfied with the first 45 minutes. Mary Washington forced starting goalkeeper Ally Marcello to save two shots on great chances to begin the match. Then with a little more than seven minutes left to play in the half, a well-placed through ball put an Eagles’ forward behind the CUA defense, and she finished nicely for the game’s opening goal. Catholic left the field at halftime down 1-0.
Pisk was asked about the sluggish first half and how the team responded to head coach JP Sousa’s halftime thoughts.
“We had not had a midweek game at home yet and I believe the team, myself included, was not mentally prepared,” Pisk said. “At halftime we had a chance to collect ourselves and acknowledge we needed to play with the capability and confidence each of us possess.”
The raised level of aggression and energy was noticeable to begin the second half of play for the Cards. Typically very quiet on the bench, coach Sousa repeated “Let’s go!” and “Get up the field!” to his team in its first few moments of possession. The home team responded well by challenging Mary Washington players with the ball harder and not letting them create any solid chances. Sophomore goalkeeper Christina Peyroux, who took over in goal for Marcello, and the Catholic defense held the Eagles to zero second half shots.
On offense, the Cardinals made greater efforts to get the ball to the attacking players in threatening positions in and around the penalty box. Pisk, Aleman, Lexi Povelaitis, Jen Delasco, and Andrea Jablonskyj led the offensive charge for most of the half. Catholic took five corner kicks in the second half, and the run of play suggested that an equalizing goal was soon to come.
That goal did come in the 67th minute, off the foot of Pisk. The midfielder received a pass in the middle of the field, still a good distance from Mary Washington’s goal. After a couple dribbles, a defender came in for a tackle, but not before Pisk surprised everyone on the pitch with a shot from just under 30 yards away. The shot fell just below the top crossbar and just above the stretched hands of the Eagles’ keeper into the goal, and the score was 1-1.
Pisk was likely one of the few that was not too shocked by the goal.
“That type of shot happens so often that my body habitually shoots that way from outside the 18-yard box, so yes. Right when I hit the ball I knew it was going in,” Pisk said.
The attack continued as the Cardinals looked for the goal to give them the lead with 20 minutes left in regulation. Jablonskyj made a run down the right side of the field and a pass led her well into a crossing position. The junior midfielder struck the ball with her right foot into the box. Freshman forward Grace Boras was guarded by a Mary Washington defender at the back post but did manage to get a foot on the ball to tap it across the goal line. Her touch pass became an assist as it came to the feet of Aleman, who fired it past the goalkeeper in the 75th minute.
Aleman, who led the team with 5 shots in the match, scored her 47th career goal at Catholic. Povelaitis also took 4 shots in the afternoon. The 2-1 victory gives Catholic an undefeated 6-0 start to the season heading into Landmark Conference action. The Cardinals open conference play on Saturday, September 24th, to take on the Susquehanna University River Hawks in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania for a 1 PM match.