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Women's soccer relies on defense for success

by Carson Werner - Staff Writer
Tue, Sep 17th 2019 11:00 pm
Junior Fiona Stockdale lines up the ball in an attempt to kick it.
Junior Fiona Stockdale lines up the ball in an attempt to kick it.

The College at Brockport women’s soccer team refused to give up a goal in its two matchups against Alfred University and SUNY Canton. Supported by superb back-to-back defensive showings, two freshmen goalkeepers were credited with shutouts. Over the two-game span, the Golden Eagles managed a tie and a win to even its record at 3—3—1. 

Coming off a tight loss to Nazareth on Tuesday, Sept. 10, Brockport traveled to Alfred three days later to take on another difficult opponent. The Saxons were 4—1—0 entering the game. Despite the differences in overall records, the two squads were evenly matched throughout the entirety of the game. The offenses were present as each side fired 11 shots, but the defenses were strong enough to hold the game scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods. A big factor in the 0-0 decision was Brockport’s freshman goalkeeper, Kayla Usborne, who made seven saves in her first collegiate start. The green and gold had seven more corner kick opportunities than the Saxons, but failed to capitalize. 

“It was a great feeling knowing that, although we didn’t get the win, my defense and I were able to get the shutout,” Usborne wrote. “I had a lot of nerves going into it because of it being my first collegiate game, but the nerves slowly went away as the game started. Playing into double O.T. added to the excitement of the night as well.” 

Brockport’s next appearance took place in Canton for a midday matchup between the two squads on Sunday, Sept. 15. Coming off a tie from the night before, the Kangaroos were overpowered by the Golden Eagles. Although a 2-0 score does not reflect the team’s dominance, Brockport’s performance was highlighted by preventing Canton from registering a single shot, while hammering shots at the opposing goalie. 

After 90 minutes of action, Brockport had taken 31 shots and put 18 of them on net. Sophomore midfielder Sydnee Smith scored her first goal of the year on a second-chance volley just a minute and a half into the game. The Golden Eagles held the 1-0 lead and possession of the ball for the majority of the game, until senior forward Molly Zientek made it 2-0 on a redirected corner kick. Freshman forward Kiley Longin earned an assist on both tallies while senior defender Mara Zimmerman picked up one on Zientek’s goal. Freshman goalie Morgan Lupo earned the shutout victory despite not having to make a save. 

“Our defense is extremely reliable,” Usborne wrote. “It definitely makes the game as a goalkeeper much less nerve-wracking knowing that you can have full confidence in the players standing in front of you.” 

The Golden Eagles’ impenetrable defense is led by Zimmerman and junior defenders Courtney Franz, Rian McMullen and Marissa Greiner. The quartet is the most experienced in its own end and have combined for nearly 2,000 minutes already this season. Sophomore Kayla Bailey is responsible for spending a large portion of time in a defensive position as well. Over seven games this season, Brockport has recorded three shutouts and has allowed seven goals. An opponent has yet to score more than twice against the Golden Eagles, and this past weekend was a testament to the team’s stature in the back field. 

“We kept our composure just from playing with each other so often, communicating and trusting each other,” Franz wrote. “We’re all really close on and off the field and have good chemistry.” 

Brockport has one more game scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 before opening SUNYAC play on Friday, Sept. 27. The team’s next opponent, Juniata College, is currently 1— 2—2 and struggling to find the back of the net with just five goals on the season. If the Golden Eagles carry the same defensive stature into Saturday’s game, it’s likely they will capture their fourth victory of 2019. 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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