Women’s Soccer kicked off their conference play Tuesday at 7pm against MCC opponent Saint Francis Cougars in a very competitive game that concluded with the Cougars pulling out a 3 to 0 win over the Maple Leafs.

The Cougars have come off of a pretty tough pre-season schedule and are looking to break their six game losing streak. While Goshen has already won more games, they have scored as many goals as the previous year and are coming on a 3 game winning streak.

The first half started with Goshen controlling the ball and moving it around very well. There weren’t too many opportunities for either side until the 15th minute of the first half. A Cougar midfielder seized the ball from the midfield and dribbled toward the Goshen goal.

Twenty yards away from the goal, the center midfielder passed the ball to #3 Hillary Powers on the right side, who took a couple of touches before placing a perfect ball to #4 Kat Luginbuhl, who was all alone on the left side of the goal, making it a 1 to 0.

Although the goal was a shocker, the Maple Leafs wasted no time in responding. With eight minutes left, Goshen was awarded a free kick 30 yards out. The free kick was taken by freshman Erin Maddux; the ball soared over the Cougars’ defense, finding Chelsea Graber, who hit it wide right of the keeper and the goal.

In the last five minutes of the first half, the Cougars were able to take advantage of another loose ball given away by the Maple Leafs. Mellissa Ellisen, #11 for the Cougars, took the ball down the sideline–using her speed, she raced towards the corner until she spotted her teammate #8 Angie Carusone, who was also left uncovered, giving her an easy goal to put the Cougars up 2 to 0 heading in to the second half.

The second half of the game started a little shaky for both sides with players overpowering their passes and missing cues. As things settled down, both teams were evenly matched, holding possession well and creating multiple opportunities for their respective sides. The Cougars were able to capitalize once again with 25 minutes left in the game.

There was a scramble for the ball at Goshen’s 18-yard box, resulting in a Cougars free kick. #17 Jennifer Snyder prepared to take the kick, the ball hung in the air as it made its way to the goal. Freshman goalkeeper Lynn Weaver jumped to try and punch the ball out, but the ball took a bad deflection as it landed in the back of the net, giving the Cougars the final goal of the night.

Junior Olivia De Cruz said, “I definitely believe that we had the ability to win this game, but they seemed to have wanted it more than us…once they scored the first goal they got to the ball a lot faster than us,” but she added with optimism, “I’m also very excited about the upcoming games, because I feel this year will be a good one.”

“After the first goal, we lowered our guard against the Cougars, which is a dangerous thing to do against a very competitive side like them,” head coach of the Maple Leafs Thavisith Mounsithiraj remarked as the game to a close. “Even though this is a conference loss, I was pleased with how the team played…we just can’t afford to make easy mistakes against quality teams.”

Next up for the Leafs will be a match against conference rivals Bethel College. The game will take place this Friday at 7pm, at Bethel.