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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s Soccer stays hot, wins two: Victories over Bethel and St. Thomas push win streak to eight, keep Knights atop MIAC

<rleton Women’s Soccer team topped two conference rivals on the road this past week, both by a margin of one goal. With these important victories, the Knights retain their position atop the MIAC leader board.

Saturday the Knights faced off against the Bethel University Royals. Differences in feudal hierarchy had no effect on the Knights’ play as they dominated possession throughout the game to win 2-1.

Carleton’s first goal came off a sweet combination that set up a perfectly placed through-ball to Linnea Carlson ’12. The junior raced down the right sideline and served an early cross to Niki Tomita ’12 in the Royals’ box. Having sprinted downfield past the panicked back line to give Carlson a target, Tomita used her momentum and sprang after the ball. The keeper charged off her line and went in for the tackle, studs up. Tomita kept her concentration despite the imminent collision and finished the shot into the upper netting to put the Knights up 1-0.

The Carleton bench erupted with cheering for their teammate’s stellar performance but it quickly faded into concern as Tomita remained on the ground. She had sustained another brutal blow to the shin, an injury to match that of her other leg. Though slow to get up, the junior forward was able to hobble off the pitch under her own power. Karlie Haug ’13, who was ready at a moment’s notice, jumped onto the field and the game continued.

Ten minutes later in the half, Bethel booted a long ball towards the Knight’s 18-yard box. While attempting to settle the difficult ball, a Carleton defender lost her footing and subsequently fell onto the ball, her forearm just nicking the side of it. Though completely unintentional, she was called for a handball right on top of the penalty area. The Royals midfielder hit a clean strike that went straight under the crossbar just beyond the fingertips of goalie Kate Trenerry ’11, evening up the score. 

But the Knights responded with a newfound energy in the second half. Cassie Burke ’12 fired in three more dangerous shots on goal, forcing the Royals keeper to come up big. On the fourth shot, however, Tomita, who had found a pocket of space by the right post, collected Burke’s ricochet off the goal frame. Being the slippery player that she is, Tomita wound up for an immediate shot but cut to the inside for the better angle. Having just faked out the only two defenders in her way, she maintained her composure and slotted the ball to the opposite post.

Bethel’s hard fought retaliations were no match for the Knights’ disciplined defensive tactics and the 90 minutes came to a decisive 2-1 conclusion with Carleton on top.

Two days later, the Knights suited up again to take on the University of St. Thomas. Carleton started off a little bumpily as they got used to a choppy field surface but by the end of the first half, the Knights racked up a total of four shots on goal and five corner kicks.

The Knights’ bench, a team feature whose involvement is truly unparalleled by any other squad in the MIAC, stepped up its vociferous support for the second half, streaming a steady flow of encouragement and communication to teammates on the field. Carleton responded well to the Tommies’ physicality as central midfielders Abby Wills ’12 and Liz Arakaki ’11 battled especially hard for loose balls in the middle of the park. 

As the still scoreless game wound down to its dramatic finish, the Knights quickly countered with five minutes left in regulation, finding outside midfielder Lily VanderStaay ’12. Living up to her appropriately designated nickname “VanderGO,” the junior winger cut inside and dribbled at speed towards the Tommies’ backline.  After committing a retreating center back, VanderStaay laid the ball off to Marlena Hartman-Filson ’13, streaking down the left side. Without missing a stride, the sophomore forward finished the ball into the back of the net, securing the Knights’ 1-0 win.

Throughout the game, goalkeeper Beth Ashinsky ’13 made two critical saves off the line to preserve Carleton’s shutout and now eight-game winning streak.

This weekend the Knights will be busy with back-to-back games away at Augsburg College and home against UW-Eau Claire.  So bring out your family and bond over some gorgeous Carleton soccer!

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