Women’s Soccer Wins Opener

A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air

Ben Whelan

For the second straight season, Women’s Soccer Coach Amy Zombeck and the Lady Beacons began the season strong with a comeback victory against a tenacious squad from Eastern Nazarene College. The scoring began in the 36th minute on a goal from Eastern Nazarene’s, Gerri Dorsett, who gathered her own rebound and then took the ball across the top of the box and finished on the right side to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead. UMass answered quickly, just 1:28 into the second half on a header by Jillian Moreira set up by a brilliant, arcing cross from freshman Nicki Finamore, which knotted the score at one. Twelve minutes later, an expertly touched through-ball by three-sport star and 2006 all-conference selection Katherine Wall set up a breakaway goal by reserve Amber Wilson who flipped the ball over the goalie’s head for the score that would put the Lady Beacons up for good.

While in the end the contest was only decided by one goal, the game was actually much more lopsided than the final score indicated, as UMass maintained consistent pressure throughout the game. The Lady Beacons were clearly the much more aggressive team, out-shooting their opponents 32-10, with 17 of those shots coming on-goal. And they constantly kept the ball on ENC’s side of the field. “We just pressured them and pressured them,” remarked coach Zombeck after the game “It was just going to be one of those games where you out-shoot them by 20 shots and lose or we’re going to find the back of the net and keep finding it.” This offensive intensity was a welcome change from last year’s offense that managed to score only 11 goals in 18 games, with five of those goals coming in one game. “We really stepped up and created opportunities by working hard and doing the simple things,” added Coach Zombeck, “Also up front I don’t remember having two faster people [forwards Moreira and Beca Cortazio]. Having speed up top can make a huge difference and it can create chaos for [opposing] backs.

Coach Zombeck was also particularly excited to see contributions from the new players, two of whom, Finamore a freshman and Wilson a transfer from San Diego, accounted for the only goals. “All these young players and returning players have really stepped up into their roles. Katherine Wall, who was all-conference for us last year comes back to sweeper with a year under he belt,” said coach Zombeck, ” We’re a young team with a lot of new players so they’re still getting to know each other. We go to Maine tomorrow [Friday] so I think that trip will really bond us together.”

If the Lady Beacons continue to play this aggressive style they should return from Maine not only closer as a team but with another mark in the win column next to their name.