By: Ray Humienny ~Copy Editor~
Coming off a tie with Northern Kentucky University and a three-game winning streak,
the Xavier women’s soccer team faced off against the no. 13 Pepperdine Waves at home in its eighth game of the regular season. This past Thursday’s match-up tested the Musketeers’ defense, with Pepperdine taking 13 shots throughout the first half.
The defense held the Waves to a scoreless game at halftime as senior goalkeeper Katie Markesbery recorded seven first half saves against Pepperdine’s relentless offense.
“Our goal going into the game tonight was to be in the game at halftime with one of the top 10 teams in the country,” head coach Woody Sherwood said, and the Muskies certainly accomplished that feat. However, the second half did not mark the end to Pepperdine’s push toward the goal.
The Waves managed to break through the Xavier defense at the start of the second half, scoring within the box at the 48’32” mark. In response, the Muskies took the offensive and created two opportunities in an attempt to tie up the game. Freshman midfielder Maddie Tierney and sophomore forward Tori Doss each had a shot on goal ,taking the pressure off the Muskie defense.
Still, the Pepperdine offense did not let up as it scored within the box again at the 71’21” mark. Markesberry recorded a single save during the second half before the game concluded with a 2-0 Xavier loss. “(Pepperdine) scored two very good goals in the second half and proved why they are one of the top teams in the country,” Sherwood said. “Now we look forward to going over to take on Cincinnati on Sunday.”
Unfortunately, Sunday (Sept. 14) proved to be no different against UC, as a penalty kick at the 1’53” mark resulted in an early Bearcat lead. The UC offense continued to put pressure on the Musketeers with 14 shots during the first half. Markesbery recorded five saves while the defense helped to keep the Bearcats scoreless for the remainder of the half in a dominating
performace by Xavier.
Freshman defender Carly Alfano generated the Muskies’ only shot on goal nearing halftime, but the Bearcat goalkeeper managed to seize the Muskies’ offensive opportunity. Likewise, the second half did not show any signs of relief for the Xavier defense.
The Bearcats recorded 17 shots against the Musketeers, eventually scoring again off of a throw-in at the 76’33” mark. Unable to respond, a 2-0 Xavier loss marked the end of the
“Today was very disappointing because we had made tremendous progress over the last three weeks, and to suffer a setback like this at Cincinnati is hard to swallow,” Sherwood said about the performance. Markesbery brought her career save total to 418 after recording an additional three saves during the second half.
She is only three saves short of exceeding former goalkeeper Kelcey Ervick, who currently holds Xavier’s all-time saves record. Xavier looks to bounce back as it hosts Morehead State at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19