Carnegie Mellon women’s soccer beats Emory 4–2

The Carnegie Mellon women’s soccer team wrapped up its regular season on a good note yesterday with a 4–2 victory over the visiting Emory University Eagles on senior day at Gesling Stadium. Sophomore forward Abby Coffin scored a hat trick, and junior midfielder/defender Amanda Rose broke the school’s career assist record in the win.
The Tartans put together their best half of soccer this season in the first half against Emory. Carnegie Mellon jumped out to a 3–0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the game, thanks largely to the feet and head of Coffin.

Coffin’s first goal came in the sixth minute, on a header off a cross from junior forward Kasey Stever. In the 16th minute, Stever assisted on Coffin’s second goal when she passed the ball back to Coffin, who then blasted a shot from 25 yards out into the net over the outstretched arms of the Eagles goalie. Rose’s corner kick in the 19th minute set up Coffin’s third goal. Coffin ran toward the ball and powerfully headed Rose’s kick into the net to put Carnegie Mellon up 3–0.

“In the first half we came out and we played together as a team,” head coach Sue Willard said. “We have four seniors on the team, Andrea [Maresca] and Megan [Hughes] in the back, and our two central midfielders Ashley [McMakin] and Lisa [Pascoli] are seniors so they went out and played this game like it could be their last, stayed composed, and played together.”

“We were inspired by our seniors going out,” junior forward/midfielder Jessica Howard said. “There was a lot of motivation just coming from playing for them. We came out strong because of that and because of our last game and the fact that we’ve only beat Emory twice in the last 14 years.”

Emory’s aggressive play brought them back into the game in the second half. They controlled the half from the kickoff and netted goals in the 53rd and 64th minutes to cut the Tartan lead to one.

“Emory came out and they played incredibly hard,” Willard said. “This was their last game of the season. We got a little flustered and weren’t playing the way we should play. We were just making mistakes that you make if you’re under pressure and you’re not composed, and they really took it to us. A lot of credit is due to them. We also needed to take a little bit of responsibility and stay composed when things were coming down to our end, which we didn’t do a very good job at.”

The Tartans had very few offensive attacks in the second half, but the tandem of Howard and sophomore midfielder Mary Ashe produced Carnegie Mellon’s fourth goal. In the 84th minute, Howard received a lead pass from Ashe on the right side of the field, just outside the 18-yard box, and Howard dribbled and took a shot that deflected off Emory’s goalie and slowly trickled into the net.

“Jess Howard’s goal was huge,” Willard said. “For basically the entire 45 minutes of the second half, I really wasn’t comfortable even with a three-goal lead. Soccer’s a funny game and two halves can be completely different, which was the case today. Jess’s goal was very key because, in my mind, they had very good chances to tie the game; Sarah DeWath cleared a ball off the line [in the 51st minute] which could have made the score 3–3 after all was said and done. When Jess put that ball in it took some of the pressure off us, and we started playing a little more composed and took some of the momentum away from Emory.”

“Being up 4–2 instead of 3–2 — it’s only one goal, but everyone was able to relax a little bit,” Howard said. “Everyone kind of picked it up and knew we were going to win this game.”

“The season as a whole has been a roller coaster,” said Willard. “We were a young team at the start and it’s taken us a long time to find our way as a team, and the last few games we’ve been playing like the coaching staff knew we could play. It’s great for these kids who’ve been working very hard to come out and end the season playing the way they know they can play.”

The Tartans end the regular season with a record of 8–7–1 and 3–4 in the UAA.

They will find out today if they earn a bid to the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament.