Women’s soccer surrenders 2-0 lead at Highmark Stadium

Written By Austin Alkire, Co-Sports Editor

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As the second week of the season concluded, the women’s soccer team found itself still looking for its first win of the season, losing to both Lawrence Tech and Siena Heights. 

The Pioneers’ week consisted of a Michigan road trip as well as their first home game of the season. The current four-game losing streak (at the time of publication) finds Point Park ranked No. 9  in the River States Conference (RSC.)

Sept. 1’s game against Lawrence Tech saw the Pioneers go down by a goal in the second minute of the game, thanks to a goal by Blue Devils’ forward Katelyn Mather. Point Park went into halftime down 2-0 after defender Laura Silverman capitalized on a 35-yard shot.

The Blue Devils’ first goal immediately changed the way the Pioneers had to look at their game, according to senior midfielder and captain Gabby Widman. 

“We knew that we had to step our game up,” Widman said. “Being scored on first and early on in the game is a hard thing to deal with. We knew what needed to be done and we had to push even harder to try and score a goal.”

Mather continued her night over the Pioneers in the second half, assisting on the Blue Devils’ third goal of the game, provided by Dionna Hill in the 47th minute. Mather rubbed salt in the wound by scoring her second of the game 15 minutes later to give Lawrence Tech a 4-0 lead, which they held onto for the rest of the game.

Set plays defined Lawrence Tech’s control of the game, which helped identify an issue with the Pioneers for head coach Bethanie Moreschi. 

“We didn’t have a lot of opportunities in that game, but they had a lot of opportunities against us, so we were able to take a chance to defend those,” Moreschi said. “I think one thing we are realizing is that for corner kicks, there are some things we can work on as far as marking up, we’ve been a little lazy about marking up, so that is definitely something we can do a whole lot better.”

Point Park was not able to gain control of the center of the field, allowing Lawrence Tech to control the play. This is the opposite of what Moreschi is looking for from her team.

“I think [we need to work on] possessing the ball and being able to switch through our center midfielders and center defenders to the other side of the field,” Moreschi said. “We were playing on one side only, and instead of utilizing our center midfielders who are supposed to direct our play – those girls in the center are supposed to be getting the ball and directing the play and deciding where we’re going from there.”

The Lawrence Tech game proceeded an ongoing issue for the Pioneers – the lack of goal scoring. Point Park was not doing what they practiced, according to Moreschi. 

“Overall with Lawrence Tech, it wasn’t a great game for us,” Moreschi said. “We came from our Lourdes game on Friday where we did have a great game. We were playing and moving the ball and doing all the things you’re supposed to do except scoring; that’s our biggest issue and honestly we just need that goal.”

The path to breaking through the goal scoring wall is through the details in the Pioneers’ game. 

“Definitely a lot of small-sided stuff with big goals, where we are just working on that whole idea,” Moreschi said.

Fast forward from that Sept. 1 afternoon to Saturday, and the women’s soccer team was finally playing at home in Highmark Stadium under a cloudy sky. 

That cloudy sky did not impact the Pioneers’ play for that first half, however.

In the 40th minute, sophomore forward Taylor Goldstrohm scored the first goal on the Pioneers’ season, creating a scene of high-fives and cheering from Point Park’s bench.

Just three minutes later, sophomore defender Emily Gillot continued the momentum for Point Park, advancing the ball up the field to create a corner kick for the home team. 

Photo by Submitted by Point Park Athletics
Senior captain Chloe Bowser goes up against a mid elder from Sie-
na Heights in the home opening match on Saturday.

Senior captain Chloe Bowser took the corner and fellow senior Gabby Widman seized the opportunity, scoring to make the Pioneers’ lead 2-0.

“We knew as a team that we just needed to keep scoring and that a one goal lead is hard to keep for any team,” Widman said. “The game was ours to lose so we had to push to try and score another goal and one way to do that was by getting opportunities at the goal.”

The host Pioneers came out in a 4-3-3 formation for the opening moments of the second half. Moreschi uses her teams comfortability with changing formations to her advantage.

“I play a lot of different formations,” Moreschi said. “I am a big fan of being able to start from a solid formation and move one player to make the formation different.”

The sun came out to begin the second half, just as Siena Heights did. Two minutes into the second half, goalkeeper Ashtyn Webb shut down a Siena Heights breakaway, blocking the ball and diving out to cover it.

However, the away team broke through three minutes later as Isabel Remar scored to tie the game at two-a-piece.

In the 64th minute, Erin Tyson scored on a far right shot to give Siena Heights the lead. Six minutes later, Me’Kenzi Guice redirected a rolling ball in the box out of play to shut down one of Siena Heights’ many scoring chances.

The Michigan team proceeded to score two goals in the final two minutes of the game to make the final score 7-2. The first Siena Heights goal was when the momentum left the Pioneers’, something that was unable to be recovered, according to Gillot.

“The first 20 minutes of the game where we were able to capitalize on two goals was probably some of the best soccer we had played as a team all season, however as the game progressed we conceded a goal and from there it just felt like we couldn’t get that spark back,” Gillot said.

Despite the outcome for the Pioneers, the first two goals of the season are a boost in the confidence of the team, according to Widman. 

“We now have the confidence in knowing that we can score goals,” Widman said. “We can work as a team moving forward to push and encourage one another to keep scoring goals. Scoring one goal isn’t good enough. We have to keep pushing harder and harder to score more.”