CMU women’s soccer wins midweek match in shutout

First-year forward Sienna Stritter fights off a defender to retain possession. (credit: Photo Editor) First-year forward Sienna Stritter fights off a defender to retain possession. (credit: Photo Editor)

On a mild but windy Tuesday evening, the Carnegie Mellon women’s soccer team took on the Penn State Behrend Lions. While quite a few Penn State supporters turned out to root for the visiting team, the Tartans set an aggressive tone early and never relented.

Both teams came into the game with plenty of excitement and energy, but the Tartans struck first as first-year outside defender Alex Moy scored off of a corner kick from first-year midfielder Tori Iatarola within the first two minutes of the game. “I got a really good corner kick from Tori,” Moy said after the game, crediting the communication the players shared on the field. “Everyone understands.”

Energized by the encouraging start, the Tartans continued to attack the Lions, keeping up the pressure early and often. Twenty minutes in, senior forward Savina Reid fielded a pass from first-year midfielder Morgan Kontor and pushed through two Lions players en route to scoring the second goal of the night. Iatarola scored on a free kick 11 minutes later, putting the Tartans up 3–0.

Following the onslaught of scores, the rest of the game featured the Tartans preventing any sort of comeback from Behrend. While the Tartans did not score for the rest of the game, they continued to keep the pressure on Behrend’s defense, allowing few chances for the Lions to go on the attack.

On the occasions when the Lions managed to penetrate the other half of the field, the Carnegie Mellon defense was there to stop any momentum Behrend managed, and sophomore goalkeeper Katie Liston only needed to save two shots on goal. Liston credited the defense for making her job a lot easier: “I love the chemistry of our defense,” Liston said, explaining how players have stepped up for one another and played as a unit. “Our coach has a saying: ‘Defend like your lives depend on it,’ ” she said. Needless to say, the team has taken that mentality to heart, having only allowed five goals all season.

Liston also noted that the team has quite a few first-years on the starting team playing well. “One of the things that make us special is how a lot of freshmen are starting,” she said. She attributed their success to their eagerness to learn from older players on the team and to the exceptional coaching staff.

Liston and the rest of the Tartans spent some time after the game signing soccer balls for the local U11 youth soccer team. “I feel cool,” she said, talking about how she had been in their shoes and now she and other players on the team are being looked up to.

The Tartans followed up their performance with a hard-fought win on Friday against the Case Western Spartans. Liston once again guided the defense to a shutout as the offense wore down the Spartan defense until Reid cashed in on a corner kick from first-year defender Katie Strycharz with only eight seconds remaining in the game.