Webster University looks to repeat as conference champions for the fourth year in a row.
Gorloks crush Eureka, prepare for clash with WashU
Entering their Oct. 2 game against conference foe Eureka College, the Webster University women’s soccer team had scored 15 goals in 10 games.
But after 90 minutes of dominance against an undersized and overmatched Eureka squad, Webster’s offense showed its capabilities by scoring 10 goals in the Gorloks’ 10-0 blowout win at the Soccer Park.
The 10-goal output was the most goals Webster has scored in a game since Sept. 7, 2008, when the Gorloks buried Wisconsin Lutheran College 11-0.
With the win, Webster improved its record to 7-3-1 overall and 2-0 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Eureka fell to 0-9 overall and 0-2 in the SLIAC. Associate head coach Mike Hutchison said the goal scoring should give the Gorloks’ offensive players a morale boost.
“You don’t want a heavy dose of these types of games, but one or two a year to build a little confidence,” Hutchison said. “Sometimes if you’re having a little trouble, just being able to put a couple in there, you relax a little. You take a deep breath and just let some of the tension go that’s been building up on some of those near misses.”
Nine different Webster players scored against Eureka. The Red Devils have 14 players on their 2011 roster, but only 10 dressed for the game. Webster had a one-man advantage for the duration of the contest.
Senior goalkeeper Brittany Senator played the first half and picked up the win to improve to 6-1. Freshman Jessica Davis held the shutout in the second half. Neither goalie had much to do, as the Red Devils did not record a shot. Meanwhile, the Gorloks totaled 58 total shots — 22 on goal.
“We did really well overall,” senior Candice Evans said. “We worked on putting a lot of passes together and finishing. We’ve been struggling to finish the whole season, so I think that was our main focus — actually putting plays together and putting them into the back of the net.”
Evans tallied Webster’s third goal of the game, which was her first of the season. Sophomore Ally Nikolaus scored the first of Webster’s many goals 11 minutes in. Nikolaus was the only Gorlok to score multiple goals, as she also recorded Webster’s seventh goal. Freshman Lauren Scalise scored a goal and assisted on four others.
Led by senior Izzy Sherfy, the Webster defense continued its strong play. The Gorloks have been scored against only seven times this season, an average of 0.64 goals allowed per game. Webster has shut out its opponents six times this season, including four of the past five games.
“They challenge the player that’s receiving the ball from the moment the ball is in that area,” Hutchison said. “They don’t dive in or create situations that give the offensive player an advantage. Mentally, they’re very strong as well, focused in just maintaining quality positioning for the full 90 minutes.
Gorloks prepare to face 12th-ranked WashU
Next up for the Gorloks is their biggest test of the season so far. Webster takes on national powerhouse Washington University on Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Francis Field. WashU enters the game with a 10-1 record and a No. 12 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
The Gorloks have never defeated the Bears, as WashU holds a 10-0-2 all-time record against Webster. The last two matchups have been nailbiters. WashU beat Webster 3-2 last year, and the Bears knocked the Gorloks out of the NCAA tournament with a 2-1 win in 2009.
Webster senior Lindsey Owens said the Gorloks aren’t really looking for revenge, though.
“Every game against WashU is a tough game,” Owens said. “We just have to come out really strong and maintain our focus … WashU is a team that we could face if we get past conference into the tournament. We want to make sure that we can play good against them. We might see them in the first round, so more than revenge, that’s probably a bigger concern.”
The WashU game is the Gorloks’ final nonconference game of the season. Webster plays six games against SLIAC opponents to close out the regular season, and the SLIAC tournament begins Nov. 3. Hutchison said Webster will use the WashU game to gauge where the team is at and what they need to work on.
“This is obviously the best team we’ve played so far,” Hutchison said. “They do everything well. Offensively, they’re individually talented and they do things collectively well together — same on the defensive side. What we’re trying to do is just show we can play at that high level for a 90-minute period.
“It’s another chance to play a great team with great individuals and really just prepare us for the Greenvilles and Principias that we know we have to beat to get into the NCAA tournament.”