Coming off a 2-1 overtime victory against Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.) on Aug. 30, the Emory women’s soccer team was unable to uphold their momentum and lost 2-0 against the Christopher Newport University (CNU) (Va.) Captains on Sept. 7. Despite registering seven shots on goal, the Eagles could not convert their chances while CNU capitalized on their opportunities and kept a clean sheet through junior goalkeeper Haley Eiser’s crucial saves.
The game featured numerous goal-scoring chances for both sides, with Emory spraying the CNU’s goal with 23 shots to CNU’s 17. In the 12th minute, senior forward Caroline Kolski had a close-range shot that was ultimately saved by Eiser.
“I felt like I played well. I just need to execute better,” Kolski said. “As a senior, coming off from a loss like that is very difficult. But seeing how we played and potential that we have for the future, I am looking forward to seeing what comes of the semester.”
CNU matched Emory’s intensity early on. The Eagles survived a scare when CNU sophomore forward Emily Talotta smashed a 25-yard shot against the crossbar in the 28th minute.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Emory’s offense showed promise, but they missed their best chance to score in the 46th minute. Freshman forward Aubrey Blanchard slipped free from the defense down the right side of the field to set up a one-on-one opportunity with Eiser. Yet Eiser made another sharp save with her foot to deny Blanchard her first collegiate goal. Eiser put in a match-winning performance between the sticks, with her seven saves stifling the Eagles’ attack and setting the record for most saves by a CNU goalkeeper this season.
In the 84th minute, Blanchard had another close chance, but her shot hit the crossbar.
“It was definitely frustrating to not be able to score, but it gave me a lot of motivation to want to do better and to work on those things in practices, and hopefully to translate those things into games,” Blanchard said.
The Emory defensive wall broke around the one-hour mark. The Captains opened the scoring after a deflected shot landed fortuitously in front of CNU freshman midfielder Jessica Zimmermann who finished an easy chance. CNU doubled their advantage from a corner kick via a header from freshman defender Jill McDonald in the 75th minute.
Despite being shutout and missing several golden chances, Emory put up a valiant effort against the fourth best team in NCAA Division III. CNU’s defense is currently one of the best in Division III, and the team now celebrates four shutouts in a row, yet Emory was still able to create several goal-scoring chances.
After Emory’s game, Head Coach Sue Patberg is optimistic about the season prospects, who said that the team will substantially improve if the players hone their finishing and exploit their periods of possession to score goals.
“Our possession was really good. We moved the ball well,” Patberg said. “We’ll be watching film to see how our dangerous attacks were started. We want to make sure when we are in the final third, that we are really creating opportunities that have a legitimate chance. The attacking is always the hardest part and takes the longest to gel.”
Emory will host the University of Lynchburg (Va.) on Sept. 14 at 11 a.m.