By Michael Otero
Women’s soccer is coming off a 3-0 victory over NYIT on Saturday, Oct. 29. With that win, the team has recorded seven straight shutouts and won 12 consecutive games to close out its regular season, 13-2-2. During that span, it has outscored the opposition 24-3.
Although the no. 22-ranked Pioneers can look back at a 2-2-1 record now and see how far they have come, Head Coach Mark Dawson never lacked conviction. “We knew we had a good tea,” he said. “Our confidence didn’t waiver. We just needed to get back to what our program has been about for years, outworking other teams, and that is exactly what we have been doing ever since.”
On the season, the Green Machine averages almost a goal and a half better than its opponents; a large part of that is due to its stifling defense, which allows 0.47 goals per contest. That’s less than half a goal. “Everyone is working hard to make it difficult for the other team to break us down,” Dawson added.
The Pioneers have been led by their center back duo of senior Kristin Brandman and junior Kristen Breihof. “The two of them have led us defensively and have better and better each day.”
With the regular season finished and conference play ahead, the Pioneers know what is at stake. “We know it’s a new season and one bad game could mean your season is over,” Dawson said. “The girls are excited to be home Wednesday and try to win an ECC [East Coast Conference] title. After that, we are hoping to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.”
The squad will need to continue its momentum moving forward. Per game, it holds significant advantages in goals, shots, shot percentage, assists and corner kick opportunities.
The Pioneers are hosting Mercy College on Wednesday, Nov. 2. In their lone matchup this season, the Pioneers came out on top 2-1 thanks to a goal in the 89th minute from sophomore forward Andrea Huntzinger. That game was one of the rare outings where the Pioneers were not the aggressors and, instead, were outshot.
Dawson and his no. 2-seeded team welcome third-seeded Mercy College to the Pioneer Soccer Park at 1 p.m. for the semifinal match-up.