Big Red Women’s Soccer kicked off conference play in the North Coast Athletic Conference this past Saturday with a commanding 4-0 win over the Allegheny Gators.
On a nice and cool fall afternoon at Barclay-Thomsen field, Denison wasted absolutely no time at all to attack and score. The phenom freshman Liz Gilbert, who has been nothing less of outstanding thus far this year, tallied her fifth goal of the season scoring just inside the goal box, with about 8:36 to go in the first half. Gilbert ‘22 attributes her early success to “the spirit of the team.”
“All the positivity, encouragement, and hard work of the team has lead me to be so comfortable on and off the field and feel as if I am surrounded by just one big family,” Gilbert ‘22 says.
This not only gave the Big Red the 1-0 lead, but also momentum, as they continued aggressive play all over the field. Not long after, Maggie Armstrong ’19, saw her shot bounce off the hands of the Gator’s goalie, Maya Hackman and into the vicinity of Claire Kolff ’20, who cleaned up the mess put it in the back of the net to give the Big Red an early 2-0 lead in the game’s first ten minutes. It was Kolff’s third goal on the season.
When discovering the team’s motive coming into this game, Kolff ‘20 expressed that the team was “upset with the loss last weekend,” and adds that they would “use the loss to fuel our energy instead of dwelling on it.”
With about 10:30 to go in the first half, Sam Haseltine ’19, nearly connected on a striking shot but with an impressive one-handed save, Allegheny’s Maya Hackman made her presence known. As the 21st minute rolled around, Denison still not skipping a beat, Madison Smith ‘19, found some space as she converted on an impactful shot from just about 35 yards out to keep Denison in control and bring the Big Red’s lead to 3-0.
Denison’s fast pace in the first half created numerous opportunities and they made sure to continue to capitalize. The Denison domination continued around the 29:30 mark, when Abby King ‘22 sliced the ball up the field into the net for her first college goal increasing the Big Red lead to 4-0.
Following halftime, despite a strong effort from both teams, the Big Red and the Allegheny Gators went scoreless in the second half of the match. For Denison, King ‘22 and Kolff ‘20 each had four shots, two of which were on goal. Smith ‘19 fired three shots of her own. Kelly O’ Neill ‘21, Logan Agin ‘20 and Riley Hammond ‘20 each had two shots as well.
With that being said, this victory wouldn’t have been possible without the important piece that is freshman goalkeeper Patil Tcholakian. She improved to 5-1 on the year, gathering a total of four saves for the game in just around 80:28 of complete play. This is her third clean sheet, where she has buckled down, showing maximum effort and preventing her opponents from scoring.
Hackman for the Allegheny Gators, finished with an impressive eight saves as she played all 90 minutes. The Big Red out-shot the Gators 26-6 for the game and 18-5 in the first half alone. From the start Denison had a beautiful balance of ball movement all while demanding control of the game early on. Not allowing the Gators many opportunities at all, Denison played it safe to secure their lead and the game as time wore on.
With a statement 4-0 win, Denison will look to keep the ball rolling in their next few games. On September 29, at 3 p.m., the team will continue their NCAC conference play with a home showdown against the Kenyon Lords.