Anthony Bracken, Sports Editor
In a game that got moved up thanks to a terrible storm yesterday afternoon, the Shepherd Rams women’s soccer team (0-1-1, 0-1-1 MEC) battled to a scoreless tie with the Hilltoppers (1-0-1, 0-0-1 MEC) of West Liberty Tuesday morning in Shepherdstown.
Senior forward Samantha Leonard generated the most pressure on the Hilltoppers’ goalkeeper Allie Warsaw, as she totaled five shots, three of which were on goal. However, Warsaw was there to meet the challenge each time, as she recorded nine saves during the contest.
Fellow senior defender/midfielder Danielle Fernandez of the Rams also put great pressure on Warsaw, as she launched four shots on Warsaw, two of which were on target.
At the 117:39 mark in the match, Leonard had a great chance to score what would likely have been the winning goal, but her shot was saved by Warsaw, who had eight of nine saves coming from shots that were on goal.
Just before Leonard’s shot, at the 115:13 mark in the game, midfielder Michelle Bourkab had a chance to effectively end the game with a shot of her own. The shot, sadly for the Hilltoppers and Bourkab, hit the post and dwindled their chances of securing a road victory.
The goalkeeping on both sides proved to be tremendous for each side, however. Junior goalkeeper Christi Labella posted five saves during the match, with all five of them being shots on goal. Midfielder Thanna Oddo launched three shots that were on goal, but Labella would not break, as she saved them all.
With the intensity of the game rising with each passing moment without a goal, fatigue and frustration started to set in for both teams. Oddo and sophomore defender Elishia Davis of the Rams each got a yellow card as the second half went on, with both teams seeing the need to secure their net.
The game definitely got a little heated, as the Rams committed 16 fouls compared to the Hilltoppers’ seven during the match. This did not affect the scoring in any way because both sides were able to keep their composure and execute great defensive plays to preserve the shutout on both sides.
In a game where chances to score were abundant but never capitalized on, the Hilltoppers were able to get four corner kicks, while the Rams were not able to get any. Again, however, the Rams’ defense came through when it needed to and cleared the ball away from their goal.
Both the Rams and the Hilltoppers were on their game defensively from the start, as neither offense gained as much traction as it needed to secure a goal.
The Rams won the shot department 14-12, so at least going into their next game they know they can move the ball and get shot opportunities, but they need to work on capitalizing on the shots they get.
The Rams will be looking to match that defensive effort with a complete effort on the offensive end as well Sunday afternoon, as they will be searching for their first win of the season when they play at home in Shepherdstown against West Virginia Wesleyan at 3:30 p.m. This game will also be played in honor of Military Appreciation Day.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org