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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Women’s soccer advances to NEWMAC semifinals behind 2-1 win vs. Coast Guard

Riley Goldman
Senior midfielder Simone Barragan-Shaw (16) scores the game-winning goal against Coast Guard in the 2023 NEWMAC Semifinals.

The only thing scarier than Halloween night in Salem, Mass. was the Emerson women’s soccer team, who entered the postseason hungry to defend their NEWMAC championship.

Following a 3-0 loss to NEWMAC leader No. 9 MIT on Saturday and Babson taking the No. 2 spot with a 4-0 win over Clark, the No. 3-seeded Lions took on the No. 6 seed Coast Guard Bears in the first round of the conference tournament.

The game kicked off quickly, as an Emerson turnover in their own box led to a Coast Guard goal in the third minute of the game. From then on, the Lions began utilizing an aggressive trap defense, aiming to not let the game get out of hand. Offensively, Emerson struggled to find opportunities early, often hounded by opposing Bears players in the box. Junior midfielder Madeline Khaw found senior midfielder Simone Barragan-Shaw downfield, but Barragan-Shaw’s attempt was foiled by a Coast Guard slide-tackle in the 17th minute.

Emerson remained aggressive in their attacks throughout the frame. Senior forward Brittney Righetti’s shot hit the crossbar in the 39th minute, and junior defender Anna Swisher and Khaw had their shots saved soon after. The Lions went into the locker room trailing 1-0.

The attacks were a point of emphasis at halftime for Head Coach David Suvak.

“Continue what we were doing in the first half, but to spread the ball evenly on both the left and right [wings] when we were attacking to make them a little more unbalanced,” he said. “Once we were in, [the message was] to go directly at the goal.”

That message rang home for the Lions to begin the second half. First-year defender Kaylin O’Meara’s shot was saved in the 46th minute. Following Khaw’s corner kick in the 49th minute, O’Meara’s next attempt went wide right. After several more unsuccessful attempts, the Lions found their equalizer in the 68th minute, as Khaw scored off of a pass by senior forward Gina Lukoskie.

With momentum on their side, the Lions searched for their next opportunity. They found it five minutes later, as a Coast Guard header brought the ball to Barragan-Shaw, who scored easily from the right side to give the Lions the lead, 2-1.

Emerson’s Anna Swisher (19) and Coast Guard’s Riley Vicinanzo (12) during a one-on-one battle. (Riley Goldman for The Beacon)

Barragan-Shaw said the pressure was on in that pivotal moment.

“You only get a few of those every game, and we were tied 1-1—no one wants to go to PKs,” Barragan-Shaw said. “I was just focused and got it in there.”

The Lions supporters in the stands erupted, including chants of “I believe that we will win!” from members of the men’s basketball, baseball and lacrosse teams. 

Emerson held their own defensively for the rest of the night, ultimately earning a trip to the NEWMAC Semifinals and keeping their dreams of a repeat alive.

Aside from the team’s attacks, Suvak was impressed with the pace at which the Lions played.

“I liked the speed of the play, I liked the possession and the way we were dominating on both wings,” he said.

He also mentioned multiple keys for the team going forward in the postseason.

“The speed of our play is important,” Suvak said. “The possession and moving forward with our possession and finding ways to score goals—all those things are important. We have a very strong defending group, [but] uncharacteristically, tonight, we gave up a goal in the first half. If we can carry [these things] through, I think that will help us.”

Suvak noted how impressed he was with the team’s mentality, dating back to their 1-5 start in non-conference play.

“We started off against some very good opponents, and this team kept mentally strong and brought ourselves back to .500,” he said. “[They] continued to win through the NEWMAC, and we dropped our last game against MIT, but very strong mentality of this group to get to third place in the NEWMAC and continue.”

A third place finish and a quarterfinals win, however, isn’t how the Lions want to end the season. Barragan-Shaw said the squad believes they can go all the way. 

“We made it this far, and we know what we’re capable of,” she said. “We did it once before. We don’t want it to be a fluke. We don’t want people to think that it was a one-time thing. We’re here to show up, we’re here to do it again.”

The Lions will face the No. 2 Babson Beavers in the NEWMAC Semifinals on Thurs., Nov. 2, at 2:00 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Jordan Pagkalinawan, Kasteel Well Bureau Chief
Jordan Pagkalinawan (he/him) hails from Burbank, California, and serves as The Beacon’s Kasteel Well Bureau Chief. A sophomore journalism student with a minor in Sports Communication, he was the sports editor for the Fall 2023 semester and a sports staff writer for most of his first year. Overseeing The Beacon’s operations in the Netherlands, Jordan is committed to elevating high-quality pieces of narrative and multimedia journalism. When he isn’t working for the Beacon, Jordan can be found listening to various genres of music, playing, watching, and writing about basketball, and exploring local bookstores and cafes.
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  • J

    Joel Goldman
    Nov 11, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Great article, the action photos add a great deal of interest to the column.