The Swarthmore women’s soccer team has made its reputation off tough play all season – a solid 8-5 record (4-3 CC) with four matches left to play doesn’t quite give the team the credit it deserves, as only one loss all season has been by more than one point. This trend continued over fall break as Swarthmore went 2-1 over the past two weeks with two solid victories and a tough overtime loss. With the season winding down and playoff races tightening, the Garnet’s gritty play and confidence will likely be a difference-maker in the fight for the postseason.
“I feel like we’ve played some very nice soccer at times and done some really nice things as a group,” head coach Todd Anckaitis said.
“We refocused on some of the basics over fall break and it feels like we’re in a good rhythm. There is no doubt I feel good about our ability to get a result in any game we play.”
Anckaitis pointed to an improving defense as a key point in continuing a strong season. “We’ve upgraded our defense to Swat 2.0,” he said. “Version 1.0 was pretty good to begin with.”
Evidence of the Garnet’s defensive prowess could be found in each of the past three games. In a 2-1 October 5th win over Washington College, Swarthmore limited the Shorewomen to just three shots on goal in the entire game.
Goalie Marie Mutryn ’12 only needed to record two saves in the victory, as the Garnet held the ball throughout most of the action, out shooting Washington 20-9 overall.
In last week’s 3-2 overtime loss to Gettysburg, the only blip on the Garnet’s fall-break record, the formidable Bullet offense managed only five shots on goal, one of which was in overtime.
On Saturday, Swarthmore dominated both sides of the ball in a 2-0 defeat of McDaniel, holding the Green Terror to just three shots on goal and sevens shots overall.
The offense came to play as well, as the Garnet took 34 shots and were only denied a blowout by a 15-save effort from McDaniel goalie Jan Woolley.
Forward Megan Brock ’14 opened the scoring early in the second half with her fourth goal of the season, and forward Mariam Vonderheide ’13 followed up soon after with the second goal of the season and her career.
Brock’s seven shots and Vonderheide’s five were instrumental in keeping the ball on McDaniel’s side of the field. Emma Sindelar ’15 and Rehanna Omardeen ’15 also handled the ball well on offense, taking three and four shots apiece, respectively.
Swarthmore currently stands in fourth place in the Centennial Conference, putting the team in prime position to make a run for the playoffs.
“I think the win on Saturday was really important for us to get back on track and bounce back after losing to Gettysburg,” Omardeen said. “There are always things to improve on and fine tune, but I think as long as we carry the confidence and energy from our win against McDaniel into our remaining games this season, we will definitely find good results.”
Brock, whose four goals and 11 points rank second on the team, agreed.
“Consistency will be important for us as we head into the end of the regular season,” she said.
“We’ve shown we can compete with the best in our conference and if we carry that same level of play into the next few games and then into playoffs, we’ll be tough to beat.”
On Wednesday, Swarthmore defeated Muhlenberg 2-1 to improve to 9-5 on the year.
Swarthmore’s schedule continues on Saturday against the City College of New York in the last home game of the regular season.
The game will feature Senior Day festivities before play begins at 1 p.m., honoring Mutryn, Alyssa Bowie, Emily Coleman, Hannah Deming, and Samantha Song as the soccer class of 2012.
The Garnet’s quest for the postseason will resume on Wednesday, as the Garnet travels to Tri-Co rival Bryn Mawr for the second-to-last Conference match of the year.
Play will begin at 3:30 p.m.