The Holy Cross Women’s Soccer team came into Tuesday’s match against the Goshen College Maple Leafs in search of two things.
The first, this was the season’s first win. The Saints had tied in all three of their first matches, a frustrating fact looming over the match against Goshen.
5th-year head coach Omar Gallo discussed that frustration: “We felt we were deserving of a better result than what we have been doing, and we felt that because of the girls we got back on the pitch.”
The second thing the team was looking for was the program’s first win over Goshen; in the six times the two squads have met dating back to 2009, the Saints had been unable to beat or draw the Leafs.
The 3 p.m. kickoff featured temperatures shy of 80 and substantial winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour which, according to Gallo, affected the Saint’s strategy.
“It’s really tough when you’re playing a floating ball in the air, reading the timing of the ball, the timing of your run; it definitely makes it a little more difficult. But we felt that if we had the wind the first half, the goal was can we be up at half with the wind. [If we were up}, we would have a better chance in the second half.”
That was precisely what happened, with freshman forward Mia Garatoni capitalizing on a Goshen defensive lapse that left her with a great scoring chance in the 19th minute.
The goal did not discourage the Maple Leafs, who brought and sustained intense pressure throughout the first half.
The combination of the pressure Goshen and the Saints’ rotation of players brought a few communication errors that allowed the Leaf some good scoring chances. It also led to Goshen outshooting the Saints 6-3 in the first half.
However, in the second half, with both the wind and the lead, the Saints came out more aggressively, outshooting Goshen 5-4.
With the increase in shots came a second goal for Holy Cross, with junior midfielder Solena Cruz sending a ball over a Goshen defender to her classmate Hailey Sanders, who was able to take advantage of the Goshen keeper’s misreading of the play.
Even down 0-2, Goshen was not going away quietly as they continued to keep up the pressure on the Saints. Goshen had four shot attempts in the last 15 minutes of play alone and three separate corner kicks.
However, the Saint defense kept the ball out of the net and hung onto the 2-0 win.
With the win, the Saints improve to 1-0-3 while Goshen falls to 1-2.
This marks the second game in a row that the Saints have been able to keep a clean sheet, with sophomore goaltender Taylor Primack playing all 180 minutes and recording ten saves during that span.
For Coach Omar, the two clean sheets are a takeaway from the last two games. “We tell our girls you have to celebrate the clean sheet as you celebrate a goal scored.”
The team will now have an eight-day rest before their next game.
The chance to rest is much needed as the Saints have been battling the injury bug all season and had a few injury scares against Goshen.
The team has found a way to rally through the injuries, something Coach Omar noted and felt deserved praise. “I just want to give a special shoutout to the 12 girls that have really just been grinding for us while our five starters have been out.”
After their game on the 7th, the Saints turn their attention to conference play which begins against Cardinal Stritch. The team is ready, according to Coach Omar, “I think if we can get our players back and healthy, we will be able to compete this year; we have a few team goals in mind. We just need our players healthy.”
The Saints are back in action on Sept. 7 at 7:00 p.m., on the road against Lourdes University.