Women’s soccer ends a cold streak with offensive firepower
Sam Tapper — Sports Writer
Going into the game riding a three-game losing streak, the women’s soccer team came out aggressive, tallying a tight 2-1 win against Elm City rival University of New Haven Chargers, on a misty night at Jess Dow Field.
The Owls, who are now 8-5-1 this year, and 5-3-1 in NE10 play, hosted the Chargers after a five-game road trip, which culminated in three straight losses. With that in their minds, the Owls’ offense came out hot on the attack early, taking 10 shots to the Chargers’ two in the first half and 19 shots to the Chargers’ eight in total that night.
“I think, after coming off of a couple losses, we needed this win,” said midfielder Mikaela Magee, a graduate student. “I think that this is a huge team win for us. From the back to the front, every single person worked their hardest today, and it showed on the field.”
After a scoreless first half, the Owls struck first in the second on a goal from midfielder Kaitlyn D’Amico, a sophomore, in the 58th minute. As the attackers had been able to do all night, D’Amico pushed through the defense and knocked the ball into the opposite corner for her team leading fifth goal this year. The Owls are a perfect 5-0 when she scores.
“We have players with good ability, good ideas, good work-rate,” said head coach Adam Cohen. “They take ideas from training, they take ideas from each other; they’re able to learn a lot from each other, and they were able to execute today.”
The Owls kept their lead for a time, however, the Chargers tied it with 14 minutes remaining on a goal from UNH sophomore Mackenzie Myers, assisted by junior Samantha Roth. With that goal, despite having dominated for most of the night, the Owls were forced to regroup or ultimately be faced with their second-straight overtime — or potentially their fourth-straight loss.
With the rain picking up, the Owls got just the boost they needed from an unlikely source.
With just over two minutes to play, defender Nadine Hilkert, a junior out of BadenWürttemberg, Germany, recorded her first goal this season on a midfield assist from defender Kelly Lamb, a senior. Lamb was fed at midfield and sent a pass into the box, where Hilkert worked her way through multiple UNH defenders and ultimately headed the ball in to give the Owls a 2-1 lead, which they kept for good.
“It was a lot; I was going for like a short corner,” said Hilkert. “I decided to stay up high, and then it was Kelly Lamb who led a perfect ball, and I guess it was a little luck at the end to get the ball over the goalkeeper, which obviously was amazing.”
Though there were no penalties issued in the game, the matchup with their cross-town did not lack physicality, as multiple players on both sides were colliding and taking hits. Regardless, the Owls remained confident in their group, and for the players, snapping the losing streak only added to that confidence.
“I think, going into this game, we knew that we had played well in the last couple games,” said Magee. “We just needed to finish our chances, so I think that that was our main focus. It shows that we’re getting better and better each game and that we’re not done yet.”
With the win, Owls’ senior goalkeeper Allie Smith now has a .833 save percentage and a 0.98 goals-against average line on the season.
They now have just four games left, with a matchup at Saint Anselm in Manchester, N.H. followed by their final two home games against American International and Saint Rose.
“It was a team effort,” said Hilkert. “We want to make it to the postseason, but we as a team focus on every day and bringing everything to the next practice. We want to make it far.”
Photo credit: Izzy Manzo