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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s soccer stays undefeated at home

Lauren Hurley ’18 dribbles past Coe College defenders on Tuesday, Sept. 16. Photo by Chris Lee.

After weeks of playing away from home, the women’s soccer team returned to Springer Field in a fashionable style as it defeated Augsburg College, North Region’s seventh best team, 1-0 in an overtime nail-biter.

“We’ve all been waiting for it,” said Carolyn Silverman ’17. “We haven’t been able to play at home for the longest time, so we had a lot of high energy.”

The high energy lasted until the last 26 seconds of overtime. With the final whistle about to blow, Silverman dribbled past more than three defenders and crossed the ball to Kitt Richards ’18, who kicked in the goal that won the game.

Richards, whose first collegiate goal ended up being the winning goal, could only release a sigh of relief when discussing her shot.

“Coming into overtime, it was a high-stress situation,” she said. “But scoring goals like that gives me a great feeling because it’s like, ‘All right, we’re done.’”

Lauren Hurley ’18 dribbles past Coe College defenders on Tuesday, Sept. 16. Photo by Chris Lee.
Lauren Hurley ’18 dribbles past Coe College defenders on Tuesday, Sept. 16. Photo by Chris Lee.

Last Saturday’s game marks the third overtime game the Pioneers have already played in this season, and the players cannot deny the fatigue they have been feeling.

“It’s one of the most stressful times,” Silverman said. “[Regulation] is 90 minutes long … and asking to put your heart into it for another 20 minutes is hard.”

Head Coach Kirsten Russell, on the other hand, was proud of her players for enduring the extra playing time.

“We’ve gotten better at sustaining our focus,” she said. “I think it shows a grittiness and willingness to run through brick walls if we have to, which is essentially how we scored those goals.”

Just three days after the big win, the team tested that same focus and willingness against Coe College at another home game. The Pioneers continued their winning momentum and defeated Kohawks 4-1.

After Richards scored the second goal of her Grinnell career, the Kohawks tied the match at one. But Grinnell pulled away and never looked back as Silverman found the back of the net twice, while Kristen Stacey ’16 added another.

Although the victories against Augsburg and Coe were fulfilling experiences, Russell explained that they just emphasize the capability of the team to do better.

“We had an off go … against Central [last Thursday] and we felt that Augsburg was the new standard that will measure ourselves best,” Russell said. “That wasn’t even an exceptional performance. It was how we should be playing all the time.”

As the team looks ahead to the game against Knox College tomorrow at another home competition, each member is determined to continue the winning streak. Even though Knox has traditionally been ranked low in the Midwest Conference, the team acknowledges each game as a new challenge and an exciting opportunity to showcase its abilities.

“We treat every opponent as a good opponent,” Silverman said.

As the remaining September games are all home games at Springer Field, Silverman has made positivity a priority for the players.

“Keeping positive is the biggest thing for our time whether you’re playing, sitting down, subbing in,” she said. “Keeping positive is the biggest attitude for our team.”

Richards is confident that the home stretch will be a vital point in the season, in which her team can capitalize to its advantage.

“I think we’re more than capable of winning these upcoming games,” she said. “I think it’s really up to our mindset walking in, but I think we will really have a lot of successes.”

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