By Nick Forbes Asst. sports editor
The Susquehanna women’s soccer team pulled off an upset against the previously undefeated Catholic Cardinals 2-1 on Sept. 24. The win was the first victory over Catholic in program history.
“Knowing that Catholic was both undefeated so far this season and the reigning conference champions only made us even more motivated to beat them. [Coach Hoover] preached a positive mentality throughout the week leading up to this game,” junior defender Cassie Coombs said.
“The atmosphere in the locker room on Saturday morning felt different; different in a way in which we knew that this was the year we could beat Catholic for the first time,” Coombs added.
In the first half the River Hawks pressed the issue, upping the tempo and keeping the ball consistently on the Catholic side of the field.
With the Cardinals back on their heels, Susquehanna was able to find the back of the net in the 11th minute.
Junior midfielder Chloe Eisenhuth lobbed the ball to junior forward Alyssa Bolger who struck the ball past Catholic sophomore goalkeeper Christina Peyroux to give Susquehanna an early lead.
Catholic answered right back with pressure, causing headaches for the River Hawks’ defenders.
Just eight minutes later, Catholic got the Susquehanna defense off balance and senior midfielder Alyssa Fiore found senior forward Lindsay Aleman, who put the ball past Susquehanna senior goalkeeper Jordyn Slocum for the equalizing goal. The goal marked Aleman’s sixth goal in seven games this season.
The teams entered the half tied at one, despite a controversial no-call in the waning seconds of the half.
Defense was the storyline for most of the second half. Both teams battled equally on each opponent’s sides of the field, but both teams were unable to muster any goals for the majority of the half.
The River Hawk’s defense was led by Coombs, who has been a reliable weapon all season as well as a leader off the field.
“The chemistry our team has had this season has been incredible,” Coombs said. “On the field, teammates were picking each other up when we were down and working together to reach our common goal.”
The game remained tied until the 84th minute when Bolger ripped a shot at Peyroux that ricocheted off her foot. Sophomore forward Emily Sullivan was there on the rebound to score the game-winning goal for the River Hawks.
“I thought [Bolger] was going to score again, but the goalie made a great save,” said Sullivan. “The ball bounced out towards me and I just tried to get any sort of touch I could on the wall.”
The win, which gave Catholic its first loss of the season, was also the sixth win of the year for Susquehanna. The win also gave the River Hawks their first conference win of the season, making them 1-0 in Landmark Conference play.
“This win gives us so much more confidence going into every game because we know that we have the capability to beat any team and achieve great things this season,” said Sullivan.
With the optimism surrounding this team growing every game, the River Hawks are in a much different position than they were last year, when they were 4-2-2 after the first eight games