The Emory women’s soccer team kicked off their 2019 season on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 against the Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.) Tigers and the Lee University (Tenn.) Flames at the WoodPEC.
In an exciting overtime win, the Eagles defeated Sewanee 2-1 in their opening match, securing their first victory of the season. After a scoreless first half, senior forward Shivani Beall advanced the ball on the left wing while freshman forward Natalie Klar made a run into the middle of the box. Beall crossed the ball while Klar beautifully one-timed it into the near corner for her first career goal in her first collegiate game, scoring the Eagles’ first goal of the 2019 season.
Klar was one of 10 freshmen to join the team this year.
“Hopefully we will be able to further contribute and help the team improve on last year’s strong season,” Klar said of her freshman class.
About 10 minutes later, the Tigers retaliated with an equalizer off a corner kick by Sewanee sophomore midfielder Kiera Giacomini in the 65th minute.
Despite the competitiveness of regulation, overtime was over before it started. After a defensive misstep by Sewanee in the first minute, senior forward Caroline Kolski received the ball and drove toward the goal. Just as Kolski was about to shoot, Giacomini tackled Kolski inside the box from behind, resulting in her removal from the game and a penalty kick for the Eagles.
“We knew that we had created countless opportunities, so when we went into overtime, we were determined to bring the same intensity to get the winning goal,” junior midfielder Samantha Hilsee said.
Hilsee stepped up to the penalty-kick line and beat Sewanee goalkeeper and sophomore Hanna Judycki to the right post, netting the winning goal. This was Hilsee’s second career game-winning marker.
“In the moment, I forgot that overtime periods are golden goal; I was solely focused on making my shot,” Hilsee said. “When the ball hit the back of the net, I was relieved and thrilled for my team to have earned the crucial first win of the season.”
The Eagles outshot the Tigers in an impressive margin of 34-5, including 10-4 in shots on goal.
“There’s always extra pressure on the first game because it can really set the tone for the entire season,” Hilsee said. “We had all worked hard during preseason and were beyond ready for game day.”
Head Coach Sue Patberg expressed her agreement with Hilsee’s sentiment.
“Winning the first game of the season always feels great,” Patberg said. “It helps the team gain confidence, and it’s a first step toward an NCAA bid.”
In their scrimmage against the Flames, the Eagles found themselves facing a 1-0 deficit early on, until sophomore midfielder Lindsey Breskow netted a shot from outside the 18-yard box that landed in over the Lee goalkeeper’s head.
Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the game was called a draw as scrimmages do not count toward teams’ records.
After a successful opening weekend, the Eagles posted a winning record of 1-0.
Patberg said she expects “tough defense that allows for few chances on goal, combined with an attractive possession style that is fast-paced and creates many scoring chances and goals” this season. The Eagles return to action on Sept. 6 to face Christopher Newport University (Va.) in Newport News, Va.