With seven competitions in the past two weeks, RPI’s women’s soccer team has been busy on and off the field. With Liberty League Conference matches starting this week, the women have been busily preparing for the more challenging competitors that they are guaranteed to face.
Last Wednesday, the team traveled to Vermont to face the Middlebury College Panthers for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Panthers took charge early, making their first goal two minutes into the game. By the time intermission came around, the Engineers were behind 2-0. Freshman goalie Melissa Pinsonneault was able to make four stops for the Engineers, but it was just not enough. The game closed with the Panthers leading 5-0, with each of the five goals made by a different player.
The following Saturday, the Engineers packed up again and traveled to Springfield, Mass., where they faced Springfield College. This team is ranked 18 in the latest NSCAA national poll, but the RPI Engineers were ready for the challenge. The Pride collected their first goal 20 minutes into game play, as Pinsonneault misplayed the ball as it bounced over her head. The Pride were also able to score their second point when they went up for a penalty kick in the 65th minute. With 20 minutes left in play, freshman forward Shannon Maguire ran down the left side and, from 20 yards out, lofted a shot into the right side of the net, scoring RPI’s first goal of the game. The Engineers were unable to close the one point gap any farther, finishing behind Springfield, 2-1. The Pride led the Engineers in attempted shots, 10-7, while Pinsonneault was able to make two stops during the game. The women’s soccer team now stands at 3-4-1 in the season as it opens its conference season this week.
By playing these schools early in the season, the team is preparing for the higher level of opposition that it is expecting to see in the next few weeks with the start of its Liberty League matches. Through these non-conference games, the team can see its strengths and weaknesses, and bring its pace of play up to speed for the more challenging games to come.
This Friday, the Engineers will be hosting Hamilton College in their opening Liberty League Conference game at the Renwyck Field at 4 pm. The women will also be playing William Smith College, home, on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm.