Behind the dominant play of sophomore center midfielders Katie Aubuchon and Alexandra Nikolaus, the Webster University women’s soccer team turned back Fontbonne University 3-0 in a nonconference contest on Sept. 7 at Gay Field in Clayton.
With Aubuchon and Nikolaus hustling, attacking and beating Fontbonne to nearly every loose ball, the Gorloks controlled the pace of the game and shut down the Griffins. Webster picked up its second consecutive shutout when they defeated Monmouth College 1-0 on Sept. 11 in Monmouth, Ill.
“I have always played aggressive and used my body to protect the ball,” Aubuchon said. “I got a few cards last year for being overly aggressive, but being aggressive is a good thing. You can’t be a pushover.”
Aubuchon and Nikolaus have known each other since grade school. They played together within the Busch Soccer Club in sixth and seventh grade. They moved on to different club and high schools teams before coming full-circle when they reunited at Webster this year.
“Katie and I are a tag team,” Nikolaus said. “We played together when we were young; we know what we are doing playing together.”
Throughout the Fontbonne game, Nikolaus and Aubuchon knocked the Griffins off the ball and pushed the ball up the field, leading to several Gorlok scoring opportunities.
“They complement each other so well and they both play with passion,” said women’s soccer coach Luigi Scire. “They are both physical, but what is more important is their competitive spirit. They are a perfect tandem in the middle.
“The telltale of the game was the midfield play. Alexandra uses her size and strength to her advantage and does a great job of using her god-given talents. Katie’s heart and fight is equal to the way she plays.”
Nikolaus said she has to play physical to win.
“If Katie is not going for the ball, then I am,” Nikolaus said. “Our job is to get to the ball and keep it moving forward.”
Aubuchon, who normally does not look to score, was rewarded for her outstanding play against Fontbonne when she scored her first goal of the season in the first half to give Webster a 1-0 lead.
“The ball was bouncing around after the corner kick and it came to me,” Aubuchon said. “The last game, I hit the post with a shot and it didn’t go in. This time, when I hit the post it did go in. I was in the right place on the field.”
One minute after Aubuchon’s goal, senior midfielder Amanda Zeier made it 2-0 with her second goal of the year. The Gorloks were never threatened after that. Nikolaus got her first goal as a Gorlok when freshman forward Lauren Scalise made a perfect cross on a corner kick, which Nikolaus headed into the goal in the 35th minute of the second half.
“We played a solid 90 minutes,” Scire said. “Our defense was very good and we took advantage of the opportunities on the offensive end.”
Last season, Webster crushed Fontbonne at the start of the 2010 season 6-0. But the Griffins came back later in the year and stunned the Gorloks 2-1 in Webster’s home finale.
“Any competitor obviously wants to turn the tables around and get a victory after you lose to your opponent previously,” Scire said. “We wanted to make it right against Fontbonne, and we were able to do so… “We made a statement to Fontbonne and the rest of the conference that we are one of the contenders for the league title,”
Aubuchon said the team talked all week about trying to prove last year’s loss should not have happened, and that a second consecutive loss to the Griffins was not going to happen again.
Senior defender Izzy Sherfy was solid on defense, as the Griffins managed very few scoring threats. Junior Shelby Wade and freshman Jessica Davis shared the shutout in goal.
Against Monmouth, Scalise scored an unassisted goal on a dead ball shot with 2:30 remaining in the first half, which proved to be the only goal of the game. Senior Brittany Senator and Wade combined for the shutout.
The victories improved the Gorloks’ record to 3-1 this season. This week, the team has two road games. They travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to take on Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Sept. 14. The Gorloks then face Spalding University on Sept. 17 in Louisville, Ky. The game versus Spalding is Webster’s conference opener.