Despite fielding eight new starters, the women’s soccer team pulled off 2-1 wins over St. John’s University (3-2-0) and the University of Delaware (2-3-0), kicking off the season with a 2-0-0 record.
The Bears’ campaign began Friday night with a stiff test on the road against St. John’s. The Red Storm were a force in 2013, featuring the country’s leading goal-scorer in Rachel Daly, and making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. They crushed Bruno in their meeting last season, riding a hat trick from Daly to a 4-0 romp.
But in this year’s rematch, the Bears limited Daly to just one goal. Captain Chloe Cross ’15 scored a first-half goal to tie the game, while Mikela Waldman ’18 came up clutch in the 88th minute to shock St. John’s and pull off the upset. Goalie Mallory Yant ’15 was another key performer, saving six of the seven St. John’s shots she faced to keep Bruno level until Waldman’s strike.
“That was big,” said Head Coach Phil Pincince. He noted how good St. John’s had been the previous year and spoke about what an accomplishment it was to snap the Red Storm’s 15-game home winning streak, which had stretched back to 2012.
It took another comeback Sunday for Bruno to continue its winning ways, but the players had it in them. Another goal from Cross, who led the Bears in scoring last season with seven tallies, tied the game, and a goal from Carly Gould ’17 gave Bruno its final lead in the 73rd minute.
Pincince had an explanation for the team’s slow start Sunday after its big Friday win. “We had expended so much energy in the St. John’s game. … We felt it in our legs,” he said, but added that the team “found a little bit more energy” in the second half, enabling the rally.
After a 10-6-1 season last year that included their first winning Ivy campaign in seven years, the Bears have high expectations for 2014. Their early returns are great, but the team must maintain its high level of play if it hopes to finish in the upper levels of the Ivy League.
Pincince was happy with the outcomes, but even more satisfied with what he saw out of his players. With so many new starters, Pincince commented that getting those players experience was “probably more important than the results right now.”
“I always believe there’s room for someone new to step in and be productive, and we’re seeing that,” he added.
The first-years who appeared in this weekend’s games made an impression on Pincince, as he singled out Waldman, Sarah Cobb ’18, Maclaine Lehan ’18 and Katy Schmidt ’18 for their efforts. He was also taken by the play of Cross and Yant, adding that “we think we have a good mix of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.”
Pincince was encouraged by his team’s play, but he was far from satisfied. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Bruno will look to extend its win streak to four next weekend, when it travels to Providence College (1-3-2) and Florida Atlantic University (3-2-1).