Women’s Soccer Holds Fort at Corcoran

By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer

Xavier women’s soccer continues to blossom as the Musketeers won both of their games this week against the #22 Pitt Panthers and Bellarmine Knights.

After a hard-fought 1-0 shutout win over ranked rival Saint Louis, Xavier jumped four spots to #21 on the United Soccer Coaches (USC) poll, their second highest ranking of the season. On Thursday, they returned home to Corcoran Field to take on the white-hot Pitt Panthers, with their ACC-best 26 goals scored propelling them to #22 in the rankings. 

With X-Treme Fans organizing a march from a pregame party at Dana Gardens to the field, the stage was set for the biggest game Xavier has played so far this year.

Pitt fired the first five shots of the game before Xavier responded with four of their own. Both remained in a deadlock backed by  incredible play sby their respective goalies until the 33rd minute. Junior forward Shelby Sallee collected her own shot off the goalie and sent it to the back of the net to give the Muskies the lead.

Xavier entered halftime defending that 1-0 lead, and both teams would hold their ground defensively for the first 20 minutes and change. After a foul committed in the 18, Pitt was given a chance to tie the game with a PK in the 70th minute. Yet despite having their leading scorer on the line, the Muskies’ sophomore goalie Maria Galley denied Sarah Schupansky’s shot to preserve the Muskies’ lead.

Photo courtesy of goxavier.com
Following a shutout against Bellarmine and Herculean efforts against #22 Pitt, sophomore Maria Galley (pictured above) earned her second Big East Goalkeeper of the week award this season

With the wind at their back, Xavier quickly mount ed an offensive push. Five minutes after Galley saved the Muskies’ lead, Shelby Sallee would double it after heading in a kick from midfielder Elise Le for her second goal of the match. Though Pitt got on the board in the final 10 minutes, it was  enough for Xavier to come away with their second straight ranked win.

“This felt like the most ‘Xavier-y’ Xavier soccer game that I can remember,” Head Coach Nate Lie said following the victory. “The bench really changed the game in the middle of the first half and then we kept that momentum through most of the second half.”

Riding high into a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Bellarmine Knights, the Muskies didn’t miss a step in a dominating 2-0 victory. Though it’s not the highest goal total they have put up this season, Xavier did not allow a single shot by Bellarmine, finishing the game with a 27-0 advantage. Sonia Vargas would give Xavier an early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute, which they would maintain until the final five minutes, when Sallee would score off of a corner from Jane Olcott for her third goal of the weekend.

For her excellent week, Sallee was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career. Defender Maddie Reed was named to the Big East Honor Roll alongside her as she helped Xavier maintain a ludicrous 43-13 shot advantage over two games.

The Muskies will now embark on a Lone Star business trip, taking on Lamar University  in Beaumont on Thursday and Rice University in Houston on Sunday.