Women’s soccer extends win streak to seven


Photo by Robert Berger

Senior defender Asia Pennock-Franke heads the ball during a match up against Lourdes University earlier this year. The team is now on a seven game win streak after defeating conference opponents Ohio Christian University and Rio Grande University this past week.

Written By Rachel McKriger, For The Globe

“Crazy” is how Maggie Kuhn elected to describe last week.

That is not an understatement for the Point Park women’s soccer team. Three games in the span of six days were slapped onto Point Park’s schedule. Tuesday’s match against Geneva University, located about 40 minutes away in Beaver County, was a non-conference game, while matches against Rio Grande University and West Virginia University Tech. (WVU Tech.) were conference games.

Against Geneva, Point Park earned a 4-1 victory. In the two conference games, the Pioneers earned two shutout victories at Highmark Stadium.

The victories were a pleasant sight for a team that started the year with losses at home. Now, the Pioneers are riding a seven-game winning streak — and there’s still five more games, consecutively, at home.

Kuhn, the team’s head coach, said she saw character in the three matches. She also applauded her team for keeping the intensity against Geneva, despite the match not counting for the NAIA Conference.

“Every win helps with our confidence and moving forward,” Kuhn said. “We showed a lot of character in that no matter what the result is or how we’re playing, we’re never out of any of the games that we’re playing.”

Confidence is soaring for the team, but Kuhn still makes sure to keep her players in check. She reminds them that they haven’t won the conference or a national championship. Keeping a level head has helped Point Park, despite the team having a “bull’s-eye” on their back, as Kuhn explained.

“How we’ve been preparing is helpful,” Kuhn said. “We also realize that we are now top of the league and that people are going to be coming out harder against us.”

In addition to teams stepping up the ante against Point Park, Kuhn said that there is pressure to do well at home. In the beginning of the year, the team fell in its first three home matches. Now, with five-straight home matches, and then one more to close out the season, the Pioneers are on track to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

“There’s a little more pressure at home,” Kuhn said. “I’ve been happy to see how the girls have responded to that pressure in these big games. They’ve shown a lot of character.”

Kuhn highlighted two players in particular during the hectic week: junior goalkeeper Ashtyn Webb and junior midfielder Gabby Widman. The seven-year head coach noted that Webb recorded a “really great” save against Rio Grande to keep the clean sheet.

“That could have been a huge momentum gain for them,” Kuhn said. “Against WVU Tech, she was good in coming off her line and not giving them a chance to capitalize. I think overall we defended patiently and efficiently, which has helped us in the attack as well.”

Abby Magliocca, a senior defender, said it’s nice to get recognition from the head coach on defensive play. Magliocca said that one of the main points to a busy week was keeping defensive intensity high.

“We have a different formation, so it requires work from everyone on the field — the midfield in particular, as they drive the ball,” Magliocca said. “The defensive intensity is good from the team and it’s nice that our coach recognizes the work we’re putting in.”

As for Widman, who scored against Rio Grande and assisted Tia Horew’s goal against WVU Tech, she’s just taking the season in stride. She was called the team’s “quarterback” by Kuhn.

“All of these games are going to be close games,” Widman said. “Finding a way to battle through what we’re going through, it’s huge. These games are going to come down to one or two goals. Stepping up and being able to find a way to win as an individual and as a team sets us up for success.”

Widman said that she’s excited about having a short week, saying it’s good to focus the attention on one team.

“It’s definitely good to have time to recover,” Widman said. “It’s nice to focus on one team instead of three like we did last week. With it being Ohio Christian, it’s definitely going to be a battle. We’re going to scout them out and see what we need to do. It gives us a chance to see what we need to fix as a team and do moving forward.”

Despite having the easier week, Magliocca said the intensity will remain the same. Last year, Ohio Christian University defeated Point Park in the quarterfinals of conference playoff action. This year, the team is looking to extract a little revenge.

“With all the wins we’ve been acquiring over the last week or two, we know we can beat these harder teams,” Magliocca said. “We have to keep pushing, but we have to stay humble, remembering the loss. We know we’re capable of beating them and we want to match their level of competition.”