Defense wins games. It might be a cliché in sports, but it’s a cliché that holds true. At least it did when the nation’s number two-ranked team took on the RIT women’s soccer team on October 5. The William Smith Herons (10-0-1), who have only allowed one goal in their undefeated campaign thus far, put on a show that only validated the importance of a strong defense.
On a bright, sunny day that had everyone feeling energetic, the conditions seemed perfect for an offensive battle. Once the ball was in play, both teams struggled to get into scoring position. Every player guarded the ball as if they were in a war zone. It was an intense contest; there wasn’t a lady on the field that wanted to blink first. At the end of the first half, it was obvious that this would not be a high-scoring game. William Smith got one shot off, while RIT mustered none. Heron Katie Redmond was the lone shot-taker for the half, missing a 10 yard kick that bounced off the post and out of play.
The second half began with less urgency as both teams established a more controlled tempo. William Smith was the more dominant attacking squad, with ten attempted shots to RIT’s three. But the Tigers were able to get two good scoring chances, the first coming seven minutes into the second half, when fourth year Graphic Design major Kimi Sisti drove the ball down the left flank and into scoring position. However, despite her attempt to shake the Herons defender her opponent poked the ball free.
The second attempt looked even more promising, as first year Accounting major Katie Schindler found first year Cyber Security major Sierra Kiss on the wing, who flicked a cross that was received by second year Psychology major Rachael Bromson, who fired a shot that went just wide of the net. Bromson’s shot was blocked, as was Kiss’s rebound. Despite the Tiger’s efforts, Heron Dineo Mmutla scored the game’s only goal in the 53rd minute of the game.
In a post-game interview, second year Graphic Design major Jamie Martinez said that her team tried not to worry about what the Herons would do. “I think we came out here not worried about how they’re arranged and everything, we played hard and played to our strengths. We were unlucky, the ball got through once and we weren’t able to capitalize against them. But, I think we played with heart and showed how good of a team we are, no matter the results.”
Head coach Liz Masterson appreciated how her team kept their composure. “I think we did a nice job of not being too anxious, considering they’re the number two team in the country. I thought we challenged them well. We weren’t able to capitalize on the chance we got … but we’re improving every game, and this game just came down to who was better during those small chances.”
With the loss, the Tigers moved to 4-7-0 overall and 1-3-0 in the Liberty League. The Tigers play their next home game on October 22 against St. Lawrence at 3 p.m. at RIT Field.