The No. 24 Emory women’s soccer team lost a hard-fought game to the No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) (Mo.), 2-1 in overtime on Sept. 29. The team bounced back against in-state rival Berry College (Ga.), defeating them 3-0 on Oct. 2.
WashU’s senior midfielder Darcy Cunningham scored the game-winning goal in the top corner off a corner kick in the 95th minute, bringing their record to a perfect 10-0. The loss dropped the Eagles to a 6-3 season record.
WashU held a 34-6 advantage in shots and a 15-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Head Coach Sue Patberg said that WashU is a tough opponent each year and that the Eagles anticipated a match with little room for mistakes.
“We just knew that we were going to have to play really fast,” Patberg said. “We knew it’d be a real combative game, a game of transition, and that when we had chances on goal we were going to have to shoot in two touches or less.”
Senior goalkeeper Dani Staffin recorded a career high of 13 saves in the loss. The 13 saves were the most by an Emory goalkeeper since Kirsten Baecher (11C, 18M) recorded 12 on Sept. 2, 2009, and tied for ninth most in a game in the program’s history.
Despite the high volume of shots, Staffin credits the defense with helping the team keep WashU at bay.
“We definitely forced them into taking some really stupid shots,” Staffin said. “A lot of shots would sail wide … because we were pressuring them. I did have to make a few saves that were pretty close to the line, but the defense did a really good job of minimizing how good the shot was going to be.”
WashU opened up the scoring with a goal by Cunningham in the 25th minute off a through ball from senior midfielder Jessica Kovach. The Eagles tied the game in the 38th minute thanks to sophomore defender Jordan Fitzgerald’s goal from 22 yards out.
Despite the loss, Patberg applauded the team’s competitiveness and remains optimistic with how the team’s progress.
“We fought like crazy at times, had some very good possession and kept them at their half of their field,” Patberg said. “The [game] definitely shows that we [are getting] better and better and better.”
Indeed, the Eagles are getting better. On Oct. 2, the team blanked Berry Vikings 3-0 at the WoodPEC. Sophomore defender Caroline Moore notched the first goal in the 30th minute. Shortly after, sophomore defender Lily Dresner headed in another goal, assisted by senior defender Nikki Batt. Sophomore midfielder Samantha Hilsee clinched the game capitalizing off an end line pass in the 63rd minute.
Emory will return to conference play on Oct. 6 when they take on No. 3 University of Chicago at home.