The Utica College women’s soccer team’s losing streak is now four games after dropping contests to Elmira and Hamilton this past week.
The Pioneers were hoping to rebound in their second conference game of the year against Elmira after falling to Hartwick in the conference opener 2-0. Going into the game coach Coyle had one thing in mind that would be the key for the game.
“Mental toughness, we’ve been talking about it a lot lately in practice,” Coyle said. “Being able to take it one game at a time, one practice at a time is all that matters going into Saturday.”
The Pioneers did show their toughness on the turf of Charles A. Gaetano stadium, even if they were defeated 3-1. The team started off slow as goals from Jordyn Rousselle and Sara Kazerouni put the Golden Eagles up 2-0 at the end of the first half.
Freshman Jenna Mazza was not going to let her team fade away though as she netted her team-leading fourth goal of the season in the second half from 20 yards out. Two different goalies were used by the Pioneers as junior Jamie Enders and sophomore Kimberly Beattle combined for nine saves between the pipes. Beattle replaced Enders at the half after allowing the two goals.
Mazza, sophomore Keri Berkowitz, and junior Ciara McIlvenney led the Pioneers with two shots on goal each.
The defeat keeps the Pioneers looking for their first Empire 8 conference victory of the season at 0-2.
The Pioneers had to bounce back quickly because the next day they were back in action against Hamilton College and sadly the result was still not in their favor. Hamilton was led by four different players who each put a goal in the back of the net with two coming in each half.
Beattle got the start in goal for the Pioneers and made a career high 13 saves in the contest. UC could not get the offense going only tallying six shots on goal with only four being on target, and that is certainly not going to win any games. The shots came from junior Xiomara Rodriguez, Berkowitz, and senior Cassandra McNitt. The back line was also drained on defense allowing 26 shots throughout the game. One of those players on the back line is senior Krystine Alvear who plays almost every single minute of every game, and is coming back from a torn ACL and explained how tiring it truly is.
“Coming back from an injury, the soreness is something that kind of comes with the game,” Alvear said. “At the end of the day and when you look back at the end of the season, what counts is your total effort and how hard you work to push yourself and your teammates in order come out on top and be successful and that’s what I plan to do for the remainder of the season.”
Corner kicks were also an issue as the Continentals earned 12 corner compared to the Pioneer’s two.
Although the Pioneers have been struggling this season, Coyle is pleased with how her team is adjusting to the new system she put in place.
“Going back to the basics involving speed of play, among other things I think we are getting on the same page,” Coyle said. “We have a really strong backline, strong midfielders, and strong forwards, it just comes down to can we connect.”
UC is back in action Friday night as part of the homecoming festivities as they take on the Golden Flyers of Nazareth College.