Women’s soccer remains unbeaten through first four games

Brian Lukacsy September 18, 2014 0

After back-to-back shutouts to begin its 2014 season, the Elizabethtown women’s soccer team had no reason to change the game plan. As the old adage goes, don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

The Blue Jays went into their third game of the season at Franklin & Marshall on Wednesday, Sept. 10 looking for their third win in as many games. The last time the program started a season with three straight wins was back in 2003. The Diplomats entered the game with a 1-3 record, getting shutout in all three of their losses. That spelled disaster for a team facing an Etown defense that had yet to allow a goal on the year.

Sophomore Maddie Burkhardt got the Blue Jays on the board early with a shot in the fourth minute of action, which gave Etown a 1-0 lead. The goal, which was assisted by junior Kara Weller, was Burkhardt’s second goal of the season. Burkhardt did not register a goal in 12 games last year.

“Scoring early, although it is exciting, can be very dangerous because it is easy to sit back and be comfortable with an early lead,” Burkhardt said. “We have been fortunate enough to be able to put points on the board early because of our mindset going into each game. Scoring early gives the team and me more confidence and momentum to finish out games.”

The Blue Jays have had a knack for scoring quickly in all three games this season. In the season opener against Keystone College, Burkhardt opened the scoring with a goal exactly two minutes into the game. Etown went on to win that game comfortably, 9-0. In Etown’s second contest against York College, the lone goal of the game was scored by junior Lauren Fredericks in the third minute of action. Burkhardt’s goal in the fourth minute against Franklin & Marshall marked the third goal of the season scored in the first four minutes or less of the game.

“Our mindset is the same every game — set the tone of the game from the beginning whistle,” Burkhardt said. “We never take any team lightly. Go into every tackle with conviction, sell your soul in the box, play for each other and most importantly never let anyone come into our house and tell us what to do — protect the nest. With this mindset, it allows us to come out hard and the rest falls into place for us.”

Burkhardt got her foot on the end of a loose ball in the box in the 23rd minute, scoring an unassisted goal, giving the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead over the Diplomats. Her third goal of the season would be the last goal scored for either team on the evening.

Junior Dana Robidoux did not register a save in the contest as Franklin & Marshall only managed three shots for the entire game, none of which were on goal. Robidoux recorded her second shutout of the season, playing all 90 minutes.

Etown outshot the Diplomats 19-3 in the contest, creating a lot of opportunities on the offensive half of the field while completely shutting down the defensive side of the pitch.

The women were back in action on Saturday when they hosted Eastern University, who entered the game with two wins in their five games. Almost like clockwork, Etown did exactly what it had done in every game this season: score early. Marked at an official time of one minute and 54 seconds, junior Trisha Clark put home a rebound off a shot from fellow junior Lauren Berry for her first goal of the season, giving the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead over the visitors.

Etown dominated possession in the first half, not allowing the Eagles to feel comfortable with the ball for longer than a single touch. With a lopsided 15-shot-to-zero advantage in the first half, seven of which were on goal, the Blue Jays had many opportunities to break the game open early. Eastern goalkeeper Elayna Simpson made five saves in the first half to keep her team in the game.

It took until the 42nd minute of the first half for another one of Etown’s scoring opportunities to be finished off. Junior Deanna Slater found the back of the net for the second time this season, off assists from sophomore Sydney Nester and senior Kendra Mancino. The Blue Jays took a two-goal lead into halftime, but there were opportunities to score more.

The Blue Jays started to cash in on their opportunities early in the second half. Just under five minutes into the second half, first-year Sam Procak recorded her second goal of the season, giving Etown a 3-0 lead. Junior Kaceyanne Cerankowski and sophomore Callie McClanahan were credited with assists. Not even three minutes after Procak’s goal, McClanahan was able to net a goal of her own, giving the Blue Jays a four-goal cushion. McClanahan’s goal was assisted by Fredericks.

The final goal of the evening came in the 61st minute when Clark scored her second goal of the game, assisted by Burkhardt and McClanahan. The Blue Jays scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half to open up a 5-0 advantage on the Eagles.

Robidoux, who started the game and had to make only one save, was able to give way to first-year Hailey Parks after playing 65 minutes in goal. Parks played the remaining 25 minutes and did not face a shot.

In all, the Blue Jays tallied five goals while holding a 26-3 shot advantage. Etown managed eight assists on its five goals scored on the afternoon.

For the season, Etown has goals from 11 different players through their first four games with Burkhardt and Cerankowski leading the way with three goals apiece. The Blue Jays have not allowed a goal in the four contests, outscoring opponents 17-0.

The Blue Jays will host Penn State Harrisburg at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Ira R. Herr Field in their first game in seven days.

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