Women’s soccer falls short against Middlebury

The Colby Women’s Soccer team travelled to Middlebury College on Saturday in search of their first NESCAC win of the year. Unfortunately, the Mules were forced to wait another week for a shot at victory as they fell to the Panthers 4-0. The loss drops them to 3-4-1 overall and 0-4-1 in the NESCAC.
The Mules arrived at Dragone Field riding the momentum of Wednesday’s 3-0 home win over the University of Southern Maine. But the team knew they were in for a much sterner test against Middlebury as their hosts got off to a fast start. Middlebury forward Adrianna Gildner forced Colby goalie Ashley Conley ’17 into action in the third minute with a shot from inside the box. Conley blocked the shot and made a diving save to corral the rebound. The Panthers kept the pressure on and got on the board in the 14th minute. While Colby gradually grew into the game with Catherine Fraser ’19 and Sami Turbeville ’18 tallying shots on goal, the Mules failed to stay switched on for the entire half and allowed a second goal with just 31 seconds left until halftime.
The second goal had dented hopes of a comeback, but Colby made adjustments at halftime and looked to counterattack off Middlebury’s possession-based style. The Panthers kept the pressure high, peppering shots at the Colby goal. Conley stayed strong, though, and finished the game with an impressive 10 saves. She was powerless on Middlebury’s third goal, however, as a rasping strike found the top right corner from 20 yards out. At 3-0, the game was almost decided, but the Mules kept fighting for a lifeline back into the match. However, they were unable to effectively break down the Panthers’ stingy defense and tallied just one shot in the second half. Things got worse in the 75th minute when the Panthers added the fourth and final goal of the afternoon.
Saturday’s result leaves the Mules in 11th place in the NESCAC with five games left to play. They know a resurgence is needed to have a shot at the playoffs. Sophomore Emily Martin ’19 was a starter on Saturday and pinpointed mental lapses as something to work on. “We gave up the second goal in the last 30 seconds of the first half and it’s moments like these that we need to correct,” she said. The Mules have a short turnaround time to fix their mistakes before their midweek game against University of New England on Tuesday and a crucial NESCAC contest away at Wesleyan at a still undetermined time. Fortunately, Martin believes they have the resilience to bounce back for the rest of the season: “This season is defined by overcoming adversity and we as a team have been doing a great job with that so far.” Despite their current league standing, the team is confident about their chances.

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