By Evan Slavit
In more recent history, the Women’s Soccer team has been one of most productive fall programs for Union. Last season, they built on an 11-win season to improve to 13-4 on the year. Unfortunately, a loss on the second to last game of the season caused them to miss out on the playoffs.
What made their fall from grace more demoralizing was how great their start was. They started the season 9-2 (1-1 in the conference) before dropping two of their final five games. This was especially damaging as they were all conference match-ups, which led to a fairly pedestrian conference record of 4-3.
This year, they are hoping to avoid that same fate. The Dutchwomen looked to be on the right track, as they started the season with six straight wins, to achieve an 11th ranking overall.
They hit a road bump in their quest, however, when they lost to Skidmore (7-3), a team who had previously beaten four undefeated teams, before handing Union its first loss of the season.
As that was the first conference match the Dutchwomen had this season, it looked like they were going down the same disappointing path they had travelled down the year before.
Following that loss, however, the Dutchwomen managed to right the ship, winning four straight games to bring their record to 10-1. Even more impressive is the fact that they haven’t let up a single goal in that stretch.
Over the course of the season they have outscored their opponents 22-4, which means their opponents have failed to even score half a goal per game on average. They have outshot their opponents by more than 2:1, and of the shots taken the Dutchwomen have tripled their opponent’s shooting percentage.
Mia Simone ‘12, the goaltender, has been a big part of their success this season. She has logged over 790 minutes, out of a possible 810, letting up a .46 goals against average. On top of that, she has had seven total shutouts, meaning she has only let up a goal in four of the 11 games, and has yet to let up a multi-goal game this season.
Mollie Gilchrist ‘15, Whitney Bickford ‘15, Jennifer Mansfield ‘13 and Jessica Strang ‘12 have led the Dutchwomen offensively, combining for 15 of the 22 goals scored on the season. Gilchrist leads the team with six goals and Mansfield leads the team with three assists.
While the Dutchwomen are currently 10-1, and look like one of the nation’s top teams, they could still fall to a similar fate as last season. Currently they are only 1-1 in the conference, with the bulk of their games coming after Oct. 14.
The stretch starts with a home match against St. Lawrence University and continues for five more games that is highlighted with an away match against William Smith College on Oct. 22, the remaining unbeaten team in the conference, and finishes with an away match against Vassar College for the final game of the season.
If the Dutchwomen can continue this stellar play, they have a strong chance of making both the Liberty League playoffs and the national tournament. This would be an exciting development, as it would be the third straight term Union has sent one of its teams to a national tournament.