Women headed to RSC playoffs

Six athletes honored before Senior Day win

Written By Austin Alkire, Co-Sports Editor

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Photo by Mallory Neil
Senior captain Gabby Widman takes a shot on goal during Saturday’s game against Brescia.

With under twenty minutes left in the game against Brescia, the women’s soccer team was facing a potential overtime. Earlier in the season, the Pioneers failed to come out of overtime with a victory, instead tying Midway University 1-1. Just three days before their game against Brescia, Point Park left overtime against Cincinnati Christian with a loss.

The idea of potential back-to-back overtime periods was quite the scare that the team was looking to avoid. After all, it was senior night for Point Park. Goalkeeper Ashtyn Webb and fellow seniors Chloe Bowser, Gabby Widman, Jess Kavelish, Olajua Pedemonte, and Nikki Polens were all celebrated before the game.

“Honestly with being hurt, I just wanted to be able to play,” Bowser said. “I was sad but not as much as I thought I would be. I think that’s because I haven’t been able to play, it seemed like my season ended awhile ago.”

Emotions were high for all of the seniors, including Widman.

“As a senior you want to be a role model and leader for a team and that is what I tried to provide best to the younger girls this season,” Widman said. “We were able to keep our emotions under control coming out on top with a win. What I enjoyed most about this team this past year is the ability for girls to come in and compete and to be able to learn. You truly do learn something new everyday and being able to pass down knowledge and skill to the younger girls is something that I enjoyed most doing this year.”

In their game against Cincinnati Christian, the Pioneers found themselves down 1-0 for most of the game after Maren Hance scored in the 45th minute for Cincinnati. The defense from the home team proved to add some difficulty to Point Park’s campaign.

“I think we generated a lot of opportunities in their defensive end, but I think it goes back to what we do with those opportunities,” sophomore Taylor Goldstrohm said. “We didn’t have the intensity we needed to finish those chances. We were slow to counter attack as a unit. With the weather it was difficult to judge the ball and some balls skipped too far for the forwards to get some sort of touch on it. In the end both teams had the same conditions and same field, unfortunately they caught the break that we didn’t get.”

Photo by Mallory Neil
Senior Jess Kavelish moves around a Brescia defender. Kavelish was honored as one of six seniors honored pregame.

Point Park decided to add some drama to the game, when Britney Adrian tied the game in the 84th minute. For the second time in the season, the Pioneers were heading to overtime.

According to Widman, the approach was aggressive, but not too aggressive.

“We knew that we had to give it our all,” Widman said. “We went into overtime confidently just like we do any other game. This was a do or die moment for us as a team. We had to keep a good balance between offense and defense. I wouldn’t say we were specifically one of those. When we had our chances and created opportunities we were offensive minded and when mistakes happened we quickly transitioned into defense. Keeping that balance is key in every game that you go into.”

Balance proved to work, that is until the 105th minute. Once again, Hance would score, this time ending the game with her team in the victory column, the Pioneers taking another loss.

After an overtime like that, when it came to playing Brescia on Halloween day, the Pioneers wanted to avoid being tricked. Sophomore Tia Horew delivered a treat for Point Park and their playoff hopes. Horew buried the eventual game winning goal with 19 minutes to spare.

Widman added herself onto the scoresheet when she tucked in a goal in the 83rd minute, giving her team a 2-0 lead. They would keep this lead for the rest of the game, coming away with a win. The Pioneers finished their River States Conference (RSC) season with a 4-5-1 record.

The game’s final score was a clear example of how the Pioneers ended up playing, but not how they really wanted to play, according to junior Bailey Boyd.

“I do think the score reflected the way the game went,” Boyd said. “It should have been a much higher scoring game on our part. We played pretty poorly in the first half but are also dealing with a lot of injuries at the moment. We were able to pick it up finally after halftime on the finishing aspect of our game to say the least.”

After Cincinnati Christian University suspended their school’s operations and declared they would not participate in the RSC playoffs, Point Park moved up to No. 5 in the conference.

With the top six teams qualifying for the playoffs, the Pioneers needed one of Midway or IU Kokomo to lose in order to clinch a playoff spot; Midway did just that.

While the team awaits to see who they will play, depending on final seeding, the focus turns to recovering from injuries and improving all aspects of their game.

“I think this week off from games is going to be a lot of recovery and strategy focused training sessions that take a look at our weak spots,” Boyd said. “Also some of the girls are really going to have to step up and have confidence in their abilities to be able to make up for the loss of key role players.”

The Pioneers will either play first seed Ohio Christian, who they beat on the road earlier in the season 2-0, or second seed IU East, who they fell to at home 5-1 on Nov. 9.