The Gorloks had an up-and-down week as the Webster University women’s soccer team played its final games before conference play. A loss to nationally-ranked Washington University ended Webster’s three-game winning streak. However, the Gorloks recovered with a victory against Illinois College.
Momentum will play a huge part in the next month for the women’s soccer team as it opens up St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Wednesday, Oct. 3. In a 10-game span, the Gorloks went 7-3 against tough nonconference opponents.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Gorloks finished off the Illinois College Lady Blues 2-0 at St. Louis Soccer Park to prepare for the upcoming week. Junior midfielder Ally Nikolaus put the Gorloks on the board with her fifth goal of the season in the 16th minute. Freshman striker Jenna Hopkins had the assist.
Late in the first half, freshman forward and leading scorer Lauren Pratt collided heads with Illinois College’s Julie Weier as they were both going up for a head ball. Both players suffered cuts on their foreheads and were substituted. Pratt never returned to the game and received five stitches above her eye.
“We’re hoping everything works out by Thursday so she can play on Friday,” coach Luigi Scire said. “Right now, she’s out for the Blackburn game on Wednesday.”
With a 1-0 halftime lead, the Gorloks had to refocus and come out stronger in the second half. The offense was more aggressive, which led to 15 shots by Webster and a goal by freshman defender Briana Small with four minutes left. Junior forward Jordan Fosburgh had back-to-back chances, but couldn’t slip one past the keeper.
“At halftime, basically, we wanted to refocus our sense of urgency,” Scire said. “Defensively, we were not sharp in terms of the way we play, giving them too much time and space, and we can’t do that to a team like Illinois College.
“(We needed to) refocus, go out there and finish strong. (In) the second half we were a lot sharper defensively and took more shots on goal.”
The win over Illinois College came on the heels of a loss to Washington University, as the Gorloks were tripped up by the Bears 2-0. Webster managed just two shots against the No. 11-ranked Bears in the game. Webster’s all-time record against WashU women’s soccer is 0-12-2.
Nikolaus said the team hasn’t stopped training as it prepared to compete in every game in the conference.
“We’ve been training really hard,” Nikolaus said. “We had 6 a.m. conditioning this morning (Monday, Oct.1), then we lifted (weights). It’s not like we’re slowing down or taking any time off — our goal is to go undefeated in conference play.”
After winning seven of 10 games, Scire said Webster will have excellent momentum going into the conference season.
“We progressed very well defensively,” Scire said. “Going into the conference, our goal is to maintain that momentum that carried us in our nonconference schedule and to focus (on) one game at a time. Our focus right now is on Blackburn on Wednesday, to go out there and execute as fast as we can offensively and defensively.”
“(We need to) make sure we are a contender for the conference title, hoping to take positive steps forward instead of negative steps backwards. So far, the team has done an excellent job. We are very excited, we’re ready and prepared.”
The Gorloks host two conference games this week at Soccer Park. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Webster will play Blackburn College at 5 p.m., and on Friday, Oct. 5, the Gorloks take on Spalding University (Ky.) at 1 p.m.