Women’s soccer NCAA run ends in overtime loss to Calvin
The Carnegie Mellon women’s soccer team took the field on a chilly morning last Friday, Nov. 20, to face off against the Calvin College Knights in the third round of the NCAA playoffs. The teams were two of the final sixteen teams left in the tournament. The 20th ranked Calvin team managed to defeat the Tartans in overtime by a score of 1–0, advancing them to the sectional semifinal of the tournament.
While the Tartans’ season was cut short, they ended it with an impressive 17–2–1 record, and their success throughout the season cannot be understated.
The entirety of the first half consisted of intense and frequent changes of possession between the teams, and neither squad seemed to be building a sizable pressure advantage. This game largely revolved around defensive play, which was reflected in the low number of shots for each team, with the Tartans putting two shots on goal in the entire first half and the Knights only managing one of their own. It was clear that every shot taken this game would be precious and could not be taken for granted. The shots in the first half came from sophomore midfielders Tori Iatarola and Haili Adams, but neither managed to make it past the goalkeeper and the game transitioned into the 2nd half still with a scoreline of 0–0.
The second half saw the Tartans play more aggressively than they did in the first half, putting a total of 6 shots on goal in the second half compared to the Knights’ two. Calvin was making the most of their shots, but junior Katie Liston defended the Tartan goal well and made a save in the 60th minute to keep the game tied at 0–0. Carnegie Mellon bombarded the Calvin goal with shots throughout the second half. Senior Alli McGugan managed to break away from the Calvin defense in the 70th minute, but the keeper managed to contain her shot from 18 yards out. The Tartans had another chance to score on a free kick by Iatarola, which was also saved by the Calvin goalkeeper. The Knights were hanging on to the game and would not let go. The Tartans had two more shot attempts in the final minutes of the half while the Knights had one of their own.
Each of these shots went high and the game went into overtime still with a score of 0–0, a situation all too familiar for the Tartans.
This overtime period, however, did not go in favor of the Tartans as it usually does. A minute into the period, Calvin played a ball out of the corner, and managed to settle it in the box. A Calvin player put the shot into the lower left corner of the Tartan goal, passing Liston for the game-winning score.
The Tartans’ hopes were shattered, but the women of the Carnegie Mellon soccer team can hold their heads high knowing they played an incredible season and achieved great success. Sometimes things just fall short of expectation, and the only solution is to look ahead to see what can be improved. The Tartans will do just that, and will surely come into the 2016 season prepared to improve on their playoff performance and return to the field as a great team.