By John Trupin /// Staff Writer
While the rest of campus was resting over fall break, the Lewis & Clark Women’s Soccer team (6-4-2 overall record, 4-3-1 conference record) was battling on the field in back to back home games on Saturday and Sunday. The team faced its toughest weekend of conference play so far this season, first playing last year’s Northwest Conference champions University of Puget Sound (8-3, 6-2) and then facing a strong Linfield College (8-3, 5-3) team that currently sits third in the conference. Both ended in losses for the Pioneers.
Game one on Saturday against Puget Sound ended 4-0. Playing against a team that ranked 15 in the nation last week, the Pios struggled to get its offense going.
“They found our holes and took advantage of them” Midfielder Kylie Carera (’16) said. The Puget Sound defense was able to limit the Pio attack to seven shots on Saturday. The Pios are tied for second in the conference in goals scored. They averaged 14.7 shots per game in conference play going into the weekend.
Despite the outcome of the game, Carera remained confident.
“We absolutely played some of our best soccer,” she said. “Losing like we did showed us our holes so that we can improve them.”
Adapting to Saturday’s challenges allowed the Pios to close the gap in a 3-2 loss after falling behind early in the game against Linfield on Sunday.
The Pios allowed two goals within four minutes of each other after 35 minutes of play. The team responded, however, and shifted one of their two forwards back to play with three center midfielders and one player up top. They rallied to tie the game in the second half. The Pios have plenty of experience playing past regulation time; six of their 12 games this season have gone into overtime, five of which further entered double overtime. Falling to Linfield on Sunday marked their second loss in double overtime.
At the halfway point in their conference schedule, the Pios sit in fifth place. Five points separate the second and fifth place teams, while LC is six points ahead of the sixth place team. In conference standings, wins are worth three points, ties are worth one point and losses are not counted.
LC will look to get back on track this week with three matchups against teams in the bottom of the conference standings. On Wednesday, the Pios faced a last place Willamette University. They snagged 1-0 victory with goals scored by Megan Ratfield (‘16) in the third minute of the game. This Saturday and Sunday, LC plays George Fox University and Pacific University respectively; both have matching 2-5-1 records.
“[This past weekend] made us realize how much we as a team hate losing, which gives us a drive to push ourselves again,” Carera said. Two wins this weekend would put the team in a strong position in conference heading into the home stretch.