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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s soccer buries MWC opponents

Hannah Truesdale ’17 defends the ball from an Illinois College player last Saturday. Photo by John Brady.

The women’s soccer team continued its impeccable winning streak in the Midwest Conference (MWC) this past weekend with two shutout wins. The Pioneers played a 3-0 shutout game against Illinois College at Springer Field on Saturday and retained the same high energy and dynamic athleticism the following day when they triumphed against Cornell College 1-0.

Against Illinois, the Pioneers had secured a 2-0 halftime lead with goals by Carolyn Silverman ’17, assisted by Dabney Hofammann ’15, in the 22nd minute and Annika Helverson ’18 in the 39th. In the second half, Izzie Pfeiffer ’16 made her first goal of the year in the 84th minute and was assisted by Kitt Richards ’18. Goalkeeper Katy Oldach ’16 had perhaps the most significant role of all, however, in stopping four shots on goal.

“We’ve been trying to get our game plan figured out [and] to use the people that we have and their talents in the best way possible,” Hofammann said. “We’ve been playing really aggressively over the past few games … [because] it sends a message that we’re not going to be pushed off the ball and that we’re a strong team.”

Against Cornell, the lone goal was executed in the 14th minute by Hofammann with an assist from Silverman and Sarah Jensen ’15. Saturday and Sunday’s performances have improved Grinnell’s record to 6-4, 3-0 in MWC, giving the team a tie for first place in Conference with Lake Forest College.

Hofammann credited the shift in players’ mentality for this season’s early success. According to her, the team has not been as aggressive as it had been in prior years. She went on to mention that the team’s change in attitude went beyond the number of yellow cards it managed to accrue each game, but extended to the very demeanor of its players.

“There’s a lot more effort [on the part of the players] not only to win the game, but to act like we’re winning,” Hofammann said. “The next step is owning it … We haven’t played any games with a team that we haven’t challenged.”

Oldach also noted the importance of new head coach Kirsten Russell’s presence, indicating the impressive success of both the team’s defensive line, which has played a monumental role in the Pioneers’ ability to thoroughly shut down their opponents, and the forthcoming nature of the team as a whole to Russell’s challenging but unifying motto “Win Host Win.” Russell’s message to her players is clear: win Conference, host Conference and win the Conference tournament.

“This season we’ve been really good at being dynamic: being okay with changing our formation, changing our style of play [and] changing positions,” Oldach said. “We have a lot of people playing different positions than they have in the past, or different positions than they’re used to playing, and we’ve all been really good at adjusting to our opponent.”

Playing strong and scoring first seems to be the name of the game this season, and thus far the Pioneers are keen on delivering.

“We’ve also been good at making sure we stick to our game plan: possession, playing to defeat, taking opportunities when they come and adjusting to the style of play of the opponent we’re up against,” Oldach said.

This weekend, Grinnell will travel to play two additional Conference games. The team will face Lake Forest on Saturday in a showdown between the first-place teams and then Carroll University on Sunday.

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