Women’s soccer team goes undefeated for seven games, loses streak to St. Catherine

Senior forward Shelby Stone leads an offensive play away from a Penn State Behrend defender at a game on Friday, Sept. 9. (Photo by Kivin Woods)

For the first time in 21 years, the EC Women’s Soccer team won seven consecutive games. The historic streak came to an end with a loss to St. Catherine University on Sept. 25.

Starting with a 4-2 victory over Dominican University, the Lady Bluejays quickly became an unexpected yet dominant force in the conference this year. Last year, the team finished 5th place overall in the conference, with a season record of 8-6-2.

However, it’s becoming clearer with every game played that this is not the women’s soccer team that fans are used to seeing from the stands.

“We’ve modified our attacking style, incorporating a similar philosophy we [utilized] four or five years ago,” said Head Coach Paul Webster, who has been coaching the team for the last 12 years.

Not only has the team changed up their offensive style of attack, but defense has been an even stronger point of emphasis this year, said Athletic Director Paul Krohn at the first game of the season against Dominican.

“We always have ambitions for the win, but this year we’re trying to aim for the learning process, especially the defensive learning process for our new and veteran players alike,” he said.

In seven games, the Bluejays have totaled 14 goals on opponents and effectively defended the goal, resulting in only two of the opponents being able to score against EC. These two teams were not able to score more than two goals.

To contrast this year’s defensive success, in the 2013-2014 CCIW Tournament game EC visited Wheaton College and lost in a shutout. Wheaton was allowed to score 8 goals, and were able to keep the Lady Bluejays scoreless for the entirety of the contest.

Webster highlights the efforts of a handful of players being instrumental to the team’s success so far.

“Many players have [stepped up] at different times,” he said. “Our goalkeeping has been very solid.”

Senior goalkeeper Emily Gordon has started in all seven games, playing 462 minutes and recording 18 saves. Freshman goalkeeper Sophia Tuliglowski has played in all but two games this season, playing nearly half the minutes Gordon has played and recording 15 saves.

Junior midfielder Kim Stanczak has also managed to score more than twice the amount of points than anyone else on the team.

“Kim Stanczak has been opportunistic in front of goal,” said Webster.

Sophomore forward Sidney O’Keeffe and sophomore midfielder Emma Krick are tied for second in points scored at six each.

The winning streak ended in a dramatic double overtime loss to St. Catherine University on Sept. 25. Despite losing to their 8th opponent of the season, EC still sits atop the women’s soccer standings with a 7-1 record. A St. Catherine goal scored by Iryana Talkachova with 24 seconds left on the game clock left the EC team stunned. Only managing to take 12 shots in 90 minutes, the offense was stagnant from the start for EC. Webster acknowledged that the team struggled and is look-

ing forward to the next game. “We’ve been struggling in a couple areas that were exposed today, but managed to stay in the game,” he said. “We need to use this game as a learning experience and not let it beat us again on Wednesday.”

Elmhurst will play Augustana College on Wednesday, Sept. 28.