By Maxime Devillaz
After a plentiful weekend with two hectic games, Post Pride and Senior Day, the Green Machine continued its winning streak and is undefeated at home dating back the last two seasons.
On Thursday, Oct. 9, the guests from Wilmington University overwhelmed the Pioneers only minutes into the game, as sophomore goalkeeper Hrafnhildur Agnarsdottir mistimed a cross that got deflected in by Wilmington forward Lorah Wyrough. The early lead for the guests signaled the end of a four-game shutout streak for the Icelandic keeper.
Windy weather conditions tempted less people than usual to visit the new Pioneer Soccer Park, and it seemed as if the support would have been needed. Offensively, the team had a hard time creating any sort of goal-scoring opportunities; any individual attempt was blown away, and the guests were about to go to half time with their heads held high.
However, with 10 minutes left of the half, junior midfielder Morgan Miller and senior forward Lauren Bellone started to string some passes together, and successfully locked up the visitors defensive chain. Bellone, on the left wing, sent a cross that eventually landed before junior forward Susanne Vistnes’ feet. The Pioneers were back in the game as it was tied at one.
The goal gave the team new energy, as only minutes later the Miller-Bellone combination showed its efficiency again. Miller played a through-ball to Bellone, who won her battle against the last defender on the left hand side, and fed Vistnes in the box for her second goal and the 2-1 lead.
In the second half, Wilmington was forced to step forward when looking for the equalizer, which gave the Pioneer offense space for counter attacks. Vistnes had one that nailed the crossbar, and one free kick just outside the far post, but failed to find the back of the net. However she finally recorded the hat-trick with 10 minutes left, after yet another assist from Bellone.
Two minutes later, senior defender Morgan Kitton stormed forward on the left wing, beating her defender, and managed a finish in the far top corner to make it 4-1.
On Saturday, Oct. 11, the stands were again packed for the Post Pride game against the rivals from Bridgeport, a game to tribute the seniors whose time in Green and Gold is coming to an end.
The Purple Knights from Bridgeport had a lot to say in the first half of the game, and also found the net first. With just about four minutes left on the scoreboard, a corner was boxed away by Agnarsdottir, but right in the gap of the Purple Knights’ Lauren Bengel, who headed it back passed the keeper.
In the second half, the Pioneers came out stronger and found the net early on to get back in the game. Kitton was assisted by Vistnes to make it one apiece. Only 10 minutes later, Kitton gave back the gesture by feeding Vistnes who went on a roll with the defenders before battling in the 2-1-decider.
For the remaining part of the game, the Pioneer back line worked hard to deny the Purple Knights from getting another chance to score. Those few times they did not succeed, Agnarsdottir kept it clean, marking a season-high of five saves.
Head Coach Mark Dawson and his team will face Dowling next on Wednesday, Oct. 15. The game is set to start at 3.30 p.m.