Women’s soccer hitting stride with final Landmark games looming

Brian Lukacsy October 15, 2014 0

The Elizabethtown College women’s soccer team ran into the toughest stretch of its season over the last three games. That stretch included road games against two top-10 teams in the nation and the team’s first-ever Landmark Conference game. Those three games against ninth-ranked Misericordia University, second-ranked Messiah College and conference foe Catholic University, resulted in three losses for the Blue Jays. Those three losses were the only games the team has dropped this season, winning their first five to start the year.

The Blue Jays were able to find comfort in returning home for their second-ever Landmark Conference game on Saturday, Oct. 4 against Goucher College. Etown used a steady scoring attack in both halves to pick apart the Gopher’s defense. Junior Kaceyanne Cerankowski scored in the fourth minute of the game to give the hosts an early 1-0 advantage. Cerankowski was just getting started, accounting for half of the team’s goals for the day.

Junior Trisha Clark found the back of the net four minutes after Cerankowski, giving the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead just eight minutes into the contest. Clark, like Cerankowski, would have a successful day for Etown.

Goucher managed only four shots on goal for the entire 90 minutes, but found a way to sneak one past junior goalkeeper Dana Robidoux to cut the Blue Jays lead to 2-1 in the 13th minute. Robidoux would finish with two saves for the afternoon.

Cerankowski found a way to get loose from the Goucher defense for a second time in the first half, recording her sixth goal of the season in the 32nd minute, giving Etown a 3-1 lead going into halftime.

Just minutes into the second half, Cerankowski finished off what would be her second hat-trick of the season, scoring her seventh goal of the year and giving the Blue Jays a commanding 4-1 lead. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays relaxed on defense just long enough for the Gopher’s to march right down the field and score to cut the deficit in half. The official time of Goucher’s goal was just 12 seconds after Cerankowski’s third goal of the game.

The Blue Jays found the net twice more over the final 27 minutes of action to take the game 6-2 for their first-ever Landmark Conference victory. First-year Maria Boretti scored her first career goal in the 63rd minute and sophomore Callie McClanahan recorded her third goal of the season in the 78th. Clark was credited with the assist on both goals, finishing the day with one goal and two assists.

Along with Clark, juniors Kara Weller and Lauren Berry, sophomore Maddie Burkhardt and first-year Lindsay Hoagland all recorded an assist in the victory.

“I think we have been able to get back on track by just practicing hard and keeping our heads high,” Berry said. “Dealing with three loses in a row was hard but we stuck together and pushed past it.”

Etown was back in action on Wednesday, Oct. 8 when they hosted non-conference opponent Washington College. The contest against Washington started a stretch of four games in one week for the Blue Jays.

For the second straight game and third time this season, the Blue Jays had a player accomplish one of the greatest soccer feats. Berry recorded a hat-trick leading Etown to a 4-1 victory over Washington. Berry started quickly, scoring in the fifth minute off a feed from Burkhardt. Burkhardt found Berry again in the 16th minute to give Etown a 2-0 lead.

Berry finished off her three-goal performance early in the second half, by finding the back of the net in the 49th minute off an assist from Clark.

Berry led last year’s team with 16 goals, which was two times as many as the second-highest goal scorer for the Blue Jays. Through nine games this season, Berry had scored just one goal. In her last two, Berry has found the back of the net four times.

“My scoring touch is finally starting to come back,” Berry said. “At the beginning of the season I was rushing my shots and forcing a lot. Now I just try to play more relaxed and collected. Keeping my composure in front of the goal is what I really needed.”

Three minutes after Berry’s third goal, Cerankowski scored her fourth goal in two games and put the Blue Jays up 4-0. Sophomore Caroline Novak assisted Cerankowski’s goal.

Washington College was able to avoid the shutout, scoring in the 64th minute on the only shot that Robidoux faced all evening. The Blue Jays outshot the Shorewomen 26-2 for the game with 14 shots on goal.

The Blue Jays played their first of two games last weekend at Susquehanna University. The Landmark Conference game was the third for Etown this season. In what turned out to be the Blue Jays’ third straight victory and second conference victory, Etown’s defense smothered Susquehanna.

Etown kept the Crusaders from getting a single shot on goal and Robidoux recorded her third shutout of the season in the Blue Jays’ 1-0 win over Susquehanna. The Blue Jays had numerous opportunities to score in Saturday’s game but were able to find the net only once. Berry’s goal in the 61st minute off an assist from Cerankowski was all the team needed to earn the victory.

Less than 24 hours after walking off the field at Susquehanna, the Blue Jays took to their home field to face Christopher Newport University in a non-conference battle. Both teams that came in were ranked in the region.

The Blue Jays jumped on the Captains quickly, with Clark scoring off an assist from Berry just two minutes into the game. Christopher Newport controlled most of the game, holding a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal over Etown. Unfortunately for the Captains, none of their seven shots on goal passed Robidoux, who recorded her second straight shutout, finishing with seven saves.

Etown clung to a 1-0 lead for 83 minutes of the game before sophomore Elyse Koterwas scored on a header off a corner from Burkhardt to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead with under four minutes left in the game.

The Blue Jays game against Moravian last night is postponed until Tuesday evening.

With six games remaining for the women’s soccer team before the Landmark playoffs, the Blue Jays will try to continue their winning ways to earn a top-seed.

“It is very important for us to play well when entering our last six games. We started Landmark conference play on a low note by dropping the first game,” Berry said. “By us playing well we will prove to the other teams why we were picked first in the conference. We need to show them how well we really can play.”

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