Holy Cross men’s and women’s head coach Omar Gallo usually prowls his teams’ sidelines, offering words of encouragement to his players and offering the referees polite criticisms about calls they have made. However, as the Holy Cross women’s soccer team played Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) on Wednesday, Gallo felt content to sit in a folding chair and observe the action.
Holy Cross controlled the game from the opening minute, and the squad never looked back. Junior midfielder Solena Cruz scored inside the first five minutes, courtesy of senior midfielder Olivia Shaw. Shaw would go on to earn six of the team’s nine assists.
The following two Saint goals would come in the 23rd and 27th minutes and would both be scored by junior forward Taelyn Hendrickson, with the first assisted by Shaw and the second unassisted.
Holy Cross scored again in the 35th minute, with senior midfielder Lauren Cernak catching a pass from Shaw and cutting to the inside, where she was able to put the ball past the keeper.
The last Saints goal of the half would be a true buzzer beater. With just two seconds left, freshman midfielder Abby Craig got a centering pass from freshman forward Mia Garatoni before slotting it home.
The Saints would go into the half with a 5-0 lead and a total of 32 shots, to IUSB’s 0. The Titans’ keeper, Kaitlin Paul, had four saves of nine shots on goal, whereas Holy Cross sophomore goaltender Taylor Primack faced none.
The Saints wasted no time picking up where they left off, with sophomore defender Abby Padilla scoring in the 56th minute, thanks to Shaw.
Garatoni would scored the next three goals. In the 61st minute, she intercepted a Trojan breakout after a goal kick. Goal number two came courtesy of senior forward Kathleen Ming, who gained control of a rebound before sending it to Garatoni. The third and final goal came courtesy of Shaw crossing a high pass that Garatoni directed into the net midair.
The last two goals, goals number 10 and 11, came in the last five minutes of the game, with Hendrickson scoring both. In the 85th minute, Hendrickson would receive a pass at the top of the 18 from freshman defender Ashlyn Craig before launching the ball into the net. The 11th was similar to the 10th, with Shaw earning the assist.
The dominant showing improves the Saints to a 3-2-6 record, with a 2-2-2 record in CCAC play. The win also means that Holy Cross is 2-0-2 in their last four matches, an undefeated streak in which they have scored 14 goals and allowed only 1.
IUSB, meanwhile, falls to a dismal 0-5 in conference play with an 0-9 record overall. In that losing streak, the Trojans have conceded 71 goals and have scored zero.
This is the second time the two squads have met, as the Trojans women’s soccer team has only existed since 2019. In both meetings, the Saints have dominated the Trojans, with Holy Cross boasting a 2-0 record and a goal differential of +22, having yet to concede a goal to IUSB.
With a win against IUSB at home, the Saints will now face off against Saint Ambrose. The Fighting Bees have been a verifiable force in CCAC play. With a 3-0-2 record and a goal margin of +15, the Bees are certainly a formidable foe.
Historically, the Saints have struggled against Saint Ambrose. They currently have a 1-5-1 record dating back to 2015. The first four meetings saw the Saints get swept and lose by a combined 0-41. In their last three matches, the Saints went 1-1-1, winning in March of 2021. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.