Women’s soccer seeded first in River States Conference

Women to face IU East on Wednesday with home field advantage in semifinals


Photo by Robert Berger

Freshman midfielder Britney Adrian battles a defender in this year’s contest against Ohio Christan University. The Pioneers will host a home playoff game Wednesday night against Indiania University East.

Written By Rachael McKriger, Staff Writer

Patience paid off for the Point Park women’s soccer team.

After a long day of waiting on Wednesday, Point Park women’s soccer got the news it was waiting for. After a hard-fought conference regular season, the Pioneers finished in first place in the Rivers State Conference (RSC).

The team clinched a playoff berth two weeks ago. Junior midfielder Gabby Widman said that everyone played their part in helping Point Park reach the top spot in the RSC.

“It took a team effort to reach that and hold that title,” Widman said. “This gives us time to reflect on the things that we have done this past season and push to finish what we set out to do, which is win the conference playoffs. The excitement is crazy. We as a whole are really excited about this accomplishment.”

According to senior defender Abby Magliocca, Point Park knew about the first-place title during warmups against Washington Adventist University. However, the accomplishment wasn’t addressed until after the match. Despite the Pioneers game against Washington Adventist, which the team secured a 1-0 victory, being a non-conference match, the will to win was important.

As for Wednesday’s match, Point Park got on the scoreboard early.

Freshman Tia Horew scored the opening goal just 33 seconds into the match. According to head coach Maggie Kuhn, more opportunities were created, but couldn’t find the back of goalkeeper Lauren Perez’s net.

“Ashtyn Webb made some terrific saves and we defended well,” Kuhn said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we came away with a win. Good teams find ways to win this time of the year. I hope that gives us some confidence going into Wednesday’s match.”

Throughout the match, Point Park experimented with a three-five-two formation. Magliocca said that it was one of the few chances to try out the formation before the playoffs began — and it worked, relatively.

“Although we didn’t continue scoring, it was good to see that it still worked,” Magliocca said. “We had less defenders in our backline, but we were able to defend well against them. It was a confidence booster just in case that we need to use that again.”

The three-five-two formation will be in the Pioneers’ back pocket for the first game of the RSC playoffs. After a bye-week, Point Park learned their foe would be a familiar face: Indiana University (IU) East, a team just defeated by Point Park, 1-0, on Oct. 25.

Widman expects the match to be no walk in the park.

“This is going to be a completely different game,” Widman said. “It’s not going to be easy. The issue we ran into playing them with 12 players on the field is still in their head now and they are going to come out hungry and are going to be even more physical than they were when we played them earlier this season. We have to be physically and mentally prepared for a full-on battle.”

Unlike the match on Oct. 25, the next match will take place Highmark Stadium, home of the Pioneers. The Pioneers practice and play on that turf field, while IU East plays on a grass field.

Magliocca said a big boost would be Indiana University East having trouble adjusting to the turf.

“It’s never comfortable to play on a different surface than what you’re used to,” Magliocca explained. “When we went to their field, it’s hard to adjust. Hopefully, when they come here it’ll be hard to adjust.”

Kuhn explained that a turf field can make the ball slide faster. She said she hopes the turf doesn’t make IU East a faster team than they already are.

“There’s a lot of mistakes that can arise on a pitch like theirs, but on ours you can’t see the ball taking weird bounces,” Kuhn said. “The play is more consistent. Ultimately, the game is going to come down to who can capitalize on the other team’s mistakes.”

Kuhn emphasized that whether it’s a change in the field or a change in formation, it’ll be the team that plays the sharpest will come out on top. A victory on Oct. 25 isn’t on Point Park’s minds right now; against IU East, it’s a clean slate.

“We don’t think it’s the formation that makes the team, but the team that makes the formation work well, no matter what we’re playing in,” Kuhn said.

Point Park and IU East will kick off at 7 p.m. Wednesday.