By KEVIN BOILARD
The University of Mary Washington women’s soccer team was able to capture its first Capital Athletic Conference victory with a 5-0 win over Wesley last Saturday. The squad had been searching for the elusive victory since they opened up their conference schedule against Frostburg State University on Sept. 15.
The Eagles tied Frostburg in that match up and followed it up with a 1-0 loss to Salisbury. Since then, they have hit their mark, winning big over Randolph-Macon (4-1) and now Wesley. The two-game winning streak has improved their overall record to 7-1-1 and their conference record to 1-1-1 on the season.
It was clear from the outset that UMW wanted to put Wesley away early. In the game’s opening minute, freshman forward and leading scorer Jessica Bednarcik was able to weave her way in front of the net for a shot. The shot ricocheted off Wesley goalkeeper Sydney Kahan’s outstretched hands and landed out of play.
Kahan and the rest of the Wolverines’ defense were in for a long day, however, as Bednarcik’s early drive at the net would be the first of many scoring threats that the aggressive Eagles’ offense would pose.
Bednarcik would find fellow freshman forward Adrian Newcomb 13 minutes in for the first point of the game. Newcomb’s goal would open up a scoring binge for the Eagles that wouldn’t end until the game’s final minutes.
Not to be outdone by her teammate, Bednarcik made an impressive move four minutes later to get past her defender and set up an easy one-on-one situation with the goalie. Bednarcik was able to capitalize on this opportunity, making the score 2-0.
Mary Washington kept the pressure on Wesley’s defense, but was ultimately held scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
The Eagles were not satisfied with their two-goal lead at the half, though, as head coach Corey Hewson wanted his team to continue to implement what they had been working on in practice.
“The work rate was much better,” Hewson said after the game. “A lot of our opportunities came from the midfield; they were able to set up our offense to score. We had a good transfer from practice to the game.”
In the second half, the Eagles continued to push the ball on offense, barraging the Wolverines’ defense with shot after shot. UMW was able to outshoot Wesley 32-2 before the final whistle sounded.
Junior forward Erin Reynolds benefited most from the Eagles’ offensive flurry, as she was able to find the back of the net twice in the second half.
A perfectly threaded through ball by Bednarcik led to Reynolds’ first goal, and the second one came off a nicely placed pass from freshman midfielder Lizzie Weast.
Reynolds talked about the importance of good passing after the game.
“Possession is really important to our offense, so we were working on that all week in practice,” Reynolds said. “I think we showed our potential today; we showed how well we can do the things that we want to do.”
Freshman defender Anna Brauch notched one last goal in the game’s closing minutes to make the final score 5-0.
The Eagles’ dominant performance should cause a stir in the CAC, as senior defender and captain Emmalee Denkler believes the win over Wesley made a statement.
“We’ve had some setbacks so far this season, but we keep working hard as a team,” Denkler said. “The win today made a statement: just because we had a couple hiccups, that doesn’t mean that playing against us will be a cakewalk.”
The Eagles continued their winning streak on Tuesday when they took down Division I Howard University, 3-1. UMW was losing by a goal in the second half, but three scores in the final 15 minutes of the game propelled the Eagles to a two-goal victory.
Mary Washington (8-1-1 overall, 1-1-1 CAC) will resume their conference schedule on Saturday when they travel to York College of Pa. (5-1-4 overall, 1-0-1 CAC), who have only given up one goal all season.