November 29, 2020

Women’s soccer shuts down Elmhurst, Monmouth

Coach Luigi Scire and the Webster University women’s soccer team viewed a Saturday, Sept. 8 clash with Elmhurst College (Ill.) as a statement game.

Elmhurst, the No. 6-ranked team in the NCAA Division-III Central Region, entered the game against the Gorloks having outscored its opponents 15-0. The Blue Jays started the season 4-0 and were coming off a 13-4-1 season in 2011.

Webster, after opening the season with a 2-1 victory over Whitman College (Wash.) on Aug. 31, fell 2-1 to Alma College (Mich.) in its second game of the season. The Gorloks were hoping to bounce back from the loss — and make a statement — against Elmhurst.

Sophomore midfielder Michelle Scally dribbles the ball past Mounmouth forward Megan Snodsmith on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Soccer Park. PHOTO BY JOSH SELLMEYER.

And that’s exactly what they did. Webster freshman defender Briana Small buried her first collegiate goal midway through the first half, and sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Davis and the Gorloks’ defense made the goal stand up in a 1-0 victory at St. Louis Soccer Park.

The Blue Jays outshot Webster 12-10, but the Gorloks had a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. It was Davis’ first shutout of the season.

“We talked about that Elmhurst game being a statement game and a character win, and they went out there and did everything that you need to do to win a game,” Scire said. “As we told them, winners will always find a way to win, and they found a way to put that game away against Elmhurst. We were really excited about that.”

The win over Elmhurst was Scire’s 199th career coaching victory, all of which have come at Webster. Scire established the Webster women’s soccer program in 1999 and has remained at the helm for the past 13-plus years. Scire didn’t have to wait long for win No. 200 (see story on right for more). The day after the Elmhurst win, Webster pounded Monmouth College (Ill.) 3-0 at Soccer Park. Monmouth entered the Webster game with a 1-0-2 record and had surrendered just one goal all season.

But the Gorloks jumped on the Fighting Scots early, as freshman forward Lauren Pratt scored her first collegiate goal less than seven minutes into the contest. Later in the half, freshman defender Jessica Mess recorded her first collegiate goal on a fantastic left-footed strike into the top-right corner of the net.

Pratt nabbed her second goal of the game 15 minutes into the second half to give Webster its final margin of victory. With her two goals, Pratt is now tied for the Webster lead in that category with sophomore forward Kristin Montgomery.

“All our captains kept talking about was, ‘Come on, guys, we need to get these wins to get our momentum going for the rest of the season,’” Pratt said. “They kept talking about how important it was for Weeg (Scire) to get his 200th, so it was exciting to get the first goal of that game.”

The Gorloks outshot the Fighting Scots 21-6. Davis  only needed to make two saves to preserve her second shutout of the season. Even though it’s still early in the season, junior defender Kristen Muehlenfeld said the Gorloks are already hitting their stride.

“I think a lot of it is we’re kind of a big family,” Muehlenfeld said. “On and off the field, we’re always together. There’s always a group of us just hanging out. I think that really shows we work together well on the field, and we’re all pretty much best friends and play well together.”

Next for Webster (3-1 overall record) is a home game against 2-3 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.) on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The Gorloks then host winless Iowa Wesleyan College on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.

Scire likes where the Gorloks are and where the team is headed.

“You can start seeing pieces falling into place,” Scire said. “The players are getting a little more comfortable playing with each other. When you have (nine) new freshmen join and you have no seniors, there’s a lot of young players trying to figure out what needs to be done.

“Slowly, they’ve come together and realized that if they put the hard work in, if they stay positive and if they play hard together, that great things are going to happen.”

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