Women’s soccer routs Plymouth State 5-1 in second win of the season

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Photo: Hongyu Liu

Tuesday’s win was the second of the season for the Lady Lions.

By Leo Kagan, Staff Writer

The Emerson women’s soccer team defeated its NEWMAC rival Plymouth State Panthers 5-1 on Tuesday, securing the Lions’ second win on the season. 

The Lions, well rested after six days off between games, arrived at Rotch Field last Tuesday to play against Plymouth State. Sophomore defender Yoshiko Slater said the time off allowed the team to capitalize on necessary practice sessions. 

“Our coaches did a really good job of looking at what we could have improved in our previous game,” she said. “We practiced and implemented it so that by the time we got here, we really had an idea ingrained of the different patterns we could have used.”

Senior midfielder Cali Bruce added that the recovery time also aided the squad. 

“Sometimes when you have a long lull between games, the intensity can track down,” Bruce said. “But in terms of physical recovery, [the break] was super helpful.”

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The Lions put on a commanding performance against Plymouth State—in both the defensive and offensive zones—throughout the 90 minutes. 

Defensively, they clamped down on the Panthers’ attack, refusing to give up a single shot in the first half. It wasn’t until the next 45 minutes that the Lions’ goalkeeper would be tested, allowing one goal on three shots.

Offensively, the Lions pressured the Panthers early, generating seven attempts before the 20-minute mark. One of those shots found the back of the net courtesy of Slater, who bodied a pass from Cali Bruce behind Plymouth State’s goalkeeper. 

“I always know that [Cali’s] going to get it to the goal,” said Slater. “I know my role is to at least get there and to get a head or a body on it. Someone deflected it and I was right there at the back post to touch it in.”

Bruce, who finished with an assist and two goals, was the star of the game. Head coach David Suvak said this was just another game for Bruce, who is a natural leader. 

“On the field, the way she leads is her high level of play,” Suvak said. “But I also think she’s directing and instructing players around her to level up their intensity. She is also an amazing leader off the field, keeping the team connected and moving in a positive direction.”

Bruce was involved in the play early and often on Tuesday, making her physical presence known against a Plymouth State team that didn’t shy away from contact. 

“Plymouth brought a physical game, and I’m happy our players stepped up and matched that,” said Suvak. “The NEWMAC has some physical teams and we’re gonna have to meet that challenge.”

Slater added that one key for the team was maintaining composure even when the game turned ugly. 

“[We tried] to match the aggression but to not get violent or messy,” she said. “That’s when you get hurt. Not only were we aggressive, but we also played around [Plymouth State] and used our technical skills to keep the ball and keep our players safe.”

Staying composed was especially challenging after sophomore defender Ryley Tanner went down after a collision with a Plymouth State player in the first half. Tanner appeared to be clutching her head and was forced to leave the game—a rallying cry for the team, according to Bruce. 

“Plymouth State was being a little too aggressive,” she said. “We decided we were going to play with intensity and match what they were doing but play clean soccer. When I scored [the game-winner] it kind of felt like I did it for [Tanner], as a little bit of revenge.”

Bruce’s goal was the last of the first half, but Plymouth State responded early in the second off the strength of a goal from first-year forward Molly Bellmore. However, just when the momentum appeared to be shifting towards the Panthers’ favor, Emerson shut the game down with another goal, this time from sophomore midfielder Katie Wojcik. Two additional notches from Bruce and senior midfielder Ainslee MacQuarrie sealed the deal for the Lions. 

Tuesday’s win marked the second home field win of the season for the squad, which traveled to Waltham on Saturday for an afternoon game against the Brandeis University Judges. The Lions tied the Judges 1-1, and are now preparing for Tuesday’s matchup against Amherst College.