Women's Soccer Opens In Style With 2-0 Victory
By by STEVE VLADECK, Staff Writer
Midway through the second half of its season opener on Sunday, the women's soccer team found itself in a scoreless battle with visiting Colby College.

Yes, this was the same Colby team that the Jeffs dominated in a pair of wins during the 1999 season, including a 4-0 thrashing in the ECAC quarterfinals last November. But Sunday's game had been a back-and-forth battle throughout.

At least until the 75th minute. Thanks to two goals in four minutes from the midfield duo of Katelyn McCabe '03 and Cathy Poor '02, the Jeffs turned a tie game into a two-goal advantage, cruising to a season-opening win.

"Colby was playing a tightly-packed midfield," said junior midfielder Sarah O'Keefe. "It definitely hurt us a little."

Colby's unexpected midfield pressure, combined with a couple of questionable calls from the officials-including a disallowed goal in the 34th minute-kept the Jeffs off the scoreboard well into the second half.

The hosts had their chances inside the box, including a pair of near-misses from junior strikers Heather Govern and Hallison Putnam, but Colby sophomore Abby Kussell was solid in net for the Mules, including a pair of big stops in the waning moments of the first half.

On the other side of the ball, White Mule sophomore striker Christine O'Donnell engineered a couple of scoring chances for the visitors, only to have them broken up by the impressive backfield duo of Margaret Rubin '02 and Katie Shipley '03.

The two teams combined for only 11 shots on goal in the first half, as most of Sunday's game was played in the midfield.

The midfield quartet of McCabe, O'Keefe, Poor and Jenny Rossman '04 began to dominate as the second half wore on.

Finally, with just over 15 minutes of regulation time remaining, the Jeffs broke through.

After a possession change in the midfield, Sara Elkins '04-who had come on in the 65th minute-slotted a perfect cross to midfield-mate McCabe, who put the Jeffs up 1-0 with a rocket from inside the box.

"I thought that we played pretty well overall," said O'Keefe. "We could have done a

better job in the air, but, especially in the

second half, we were taking it to them."

Following McCabe's goal at 74:35, the Jeffs seized the momentum and pinned the weary White Mule defense deep in their end of the field.

After earning their third corner kick of the day just into the 79th minute, the Jeffs put the game away.

Shipley, who had frustrated Colby's

offense throughout the game from the backfield, drove a perfect corner deep into the

penalty box, where Poor finished it off with a charging header.

Just like that, the Jeffs had a two-goal lead, and Colby would not threaten again.

"It was definitely a good start," said Rubin.

O'Keefe agreed, although she noted that the team still needs to work on some areas of skill. "I thought we played hard and did what we had to do in our opening game," she said. "There is definitely room for improvement, though."

The Jeffs will have a chance at improving this afternoon, when they return to action with a 4:30 p.m. start against the Smith College

Pioneers, who fought the Jeffs to a scoreless draw in Northampton in their only meeting last year.

After today's game, the Jeffs will take to the road, traveling to Lewiston, Maine on

Saturday for the women's first game against Bates College since their dramatic 1-0 victory in Williamstown in the 1996 NCAA Elite Eight.

Issue 02, Submitted 2000-09-13 15:56:11