The Emory women’s soccer team suffered a 2-1 defeat in their University Athletic Association (UAA) opener on Oct. 5 at the hands of the No. 12 nationally-ranked University of Chicago (UChicago) Maroons. On Oct. 8, Emory defeated the Berry College (Ga.) Vikings 1-0 outside of UAA play. The Eagles now stand at 7-3 on the season and 0-1 in the UAA.

In their first match, the Eagles fell behind early, allowing a UChicago goal just two minutes into the first half. The shot, from UChicago senior midfielder Rachel Dias, took an unfortunate bounce off of Eagle freshman defender Peyton Robertson, sending it in past Eagles’ senior goalkeeper Haley Pratt, who had been moving in the opposite direction prior to the deflection. 

After battling back and forth after the first goal, Emory let in another goal in the 24th minute. UChicago’s sophomore forward Peyton Jefferson intercepted a poor clearance from Eagle junior defender Lily Dresner at the top of the box and chipped the ball over Pratt.

Despite outshooting the Maroons 17-14, including a 12-6 advantage in shots on target, the Eagles had trouble getting onto the scoreboard. UChicago junior goalkeeper Miranda Malone saved nearly every shot and finished the game with a season-high 10 saves. 

Head Coach Sue Patberg thought that the Eagles had ample opportunities to score, but suffered from inability to execute at the end of their drives.

“A few [saves] were a credit to [Malone], and she made some good saves, but there were a few that we literally hit right at her,” Patberg said. “It was just us and the goalkeeper, but you can’t shoot the ball at the keeper and expect it to go in … We had our opportunities. We just didn’t finish them.” 

In the 79th minute, Eagle’s senior forward Shivani Beall found the back of the net after maneuvering around four UChicago defenders inside the 18-yard box and scored with a shot near the right post. The goal marked Beall’s third of the season and gave the Eagles 10 minutes to come back from the now one-point deficit. 

In the final five minutes, Emory had several scoring opportunities, none better than a shot by freshman striker Natalie Klar, which was denied by a brilliant diving save from Malone.

Despite the frustrating loss, Pratt is still optimistic about the state of the team moving forward. 

“There’s a lot of excitement going into a huge rivalry game,” Pratt said. “Especially for us trying to pull off an upset. I think the team is still rolling, and we’re going to be fine for the rest of the season.”

On Tuesday against Berry, the two teams failed to score in the first half. The Eagles eventually broke the scoreless tie in the second half. Although Emory outshot Berry 16-3 in the first half, they were unable to find the back of the net, an issue that has plagued them recently. Emory freshman midfielder Samantha Agnew had the best opportunity to score in the second minute, but her shot bounced hard off the post. 

After the halftime break, senior forward Caroline Kolski gave the Eagles the only goal they needed when she finished a through ball from junior midfielder Samantha Hilsee in the 59th minute. When the final whistle blew, Emory had outshot Berry 30-4, including a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal.

The Eagles will play their next UAA game at home against No. 5 Washington University of St. Louis (Mo.) on Oct. 12 at 11 a.m.