By Spencer Tracy, Staff Writer
Coming off back-to-back draws against St. Johns and Providence, Xavier women’s soccer hosted Creighton Sunday afternoon hoping to keep alive their perfect record in the Big East this season.
It was senior day at Corcoran Field, as Xavier hosted their last regular season game of the year against a solid Creighton Blue Jays team, coming into town with a 8-3-6 record. Like Xavier, the Blue Jays haven’t been on the wrong side of the scoreboard in six games with their last loss against Georgetown in September. The Muskies have been hot, winning seven of their last 10 games with three draws and no losses since early September. However, in the last four games, Xavier’s offense has been limited to just one goal. Thankfully, the defense has only allowed one goal in the last nine games.
The game plan was simple – continue to protect the penalty box defensively– forcing tough outside shots and giving the offense opportunities to find the back net and end the slump. Just six minutes in, sophomore midfielder Ella Rogers led sophomore forward Chloe Netzel to the corner of the penalty box, allowing her to chip it over Blue Jays goalkeeper Keelan Terrell for her fourth goal of the season, putting the Musketeers up 1-0. Xavier controlled the pace of the game as Netzel fired off another shot this time blocked by Terrell.
Xavier’s offense continued to pressure the Blue Jays defense, missing shots left and right. The pressure from Xavier’s offense was so electric fans could sense another goal approaching as halftime was just around the corner. The Blue Jays gifted midfielder Molly McLaughlin an opportunity to extend Xavier’s lead with a penalty shot and only the goalkeeper standing in her way. Xavier jumped ahead 2-0 after McLaughlin sizzled it by Terrell making her a perfect 4-4 on penalty kicks this season and 7-7 in her Xavier career. Xavier went into halftime with a confident 2-0 lead.
Xavier Women’s Head Coach Nate Lie knew no lead was comfortable no matter the opponent, especially a hot Blue Jays team. Xavier’s last loss this season came from St. Louis while holding a 2-1 halftime lead and being outscored in the second half by two goals, resulting in their 2-3 loss.
Xavier wanted their offense to stay in attack mode and yet again the offense displayed life only a minute in when junior midfielder Jane Olcott crushed one off the crossbar sending awes around Corcoran Field.
However, the Blue Jays offense countered when junior midfielder Laura Kazandjian bounced a shot off the crossbar, igniting a spark in their offense and creating some drama. Both offenses went back and forth threatening to score but the defenses stood strong and kept the score at 2-0 until Xavier gifted the Blue Jays a golden opportunity to get on the board with a penalty kick in the 82 minute, shrinking the Muskie lead to just one with eight minutes to go.
The defense stayed strong, and the Muskies prevailed to remain perfect in Big East play with a 6-0-3 record and improving their overall record to 12-2-4. Xavier will travel to Marquette Thursday for their final regular season game.