Women’s soccer fall in season opener, start season 0-2


Women’s soccer head coach John Newbery coaching the team during a recent game. (Photo courtesy of Point Park Athletics)

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The women’s soccer team started off their 2021 season with two tough losses at home, falling to out of conference Goshen College 2-0 on Friday, August 27, and 14th ranked Grace College 3-0 on Saturday, August 28. The Pioneers start off their season 0-2 for the first time since 2019.

The first matchup against the Goshen College Maple Leafs was all action in the first half, though mostly from the opposing side. The Maple Leafs would score in the 13th and the 39th minute of the first half to put themselves ahead early 2-0, and would smother the Pioneers offense for the rest of the match. Point Park had a few opportunities in the first half but weren’t able to capitalize. Both sides would take a fair amount of shots with Goshen letting loose 13 and Point Park taking 7, but neither side were able to hit the net, as only three of the Maple Leafs and one of the Pioneers were on net.

Freshman Alexandria Jackson led the Pioneers offense with 2 shots and the only shot on net, as freshman goalkeeper Gillian Bierhals got her first collegiate start in the match.

“It was truly incredible,” Bierhals said. “Being able to play under the lights at such an amazing facility (Highmark Stadium) with a great view makes playing soccer at Point Park 100x better than it already is.”

Sadly, game two was a similar story for the Pioneers, falling to top ranked Grace College at home 3-0. It was almost identical to game one, with Grace going ahead 2-0 to start with goals in the 27th and 32nd minutes, and would stifle the Pioneers offense throughout the entirety of the contest, before tacking on another goal in the 87th minute. The Lancers simply outmatched the Pioneers, taking 20 shots and landing 10 on net, compared to Point Park’s 1 shot that also landed on net. Freshman TaMaya Wolford landed the only shot on net for the Pioneers. Bierhals, in her second career college game, was able to fend off 7 of the 10 shots put on her, showing promise against the higher volume of shots.

This year’s team is a little different compared to years past, as almost the entirety of the roster consists of first and second year students, with no seniors and only three juniors on the team this year. Nonetheless, the team was ranked second in the River State Conference (RSC) rankings in this year’s coaches preseason poll, just behind top ranked Indiana University East. IU-East won last year’s RSC championship after COVID-19 cut the Pioneers postseason run short after finishing 8-2 along with the first seed in the playoffs.
Even with the slower start to the season, the girls will look to bounce back quickly with another home match against Lourdes University on Saturday, September 4 at 3 p.m. Their first away game of the season will take place on Wednesday, September 8, against Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.

“Being that it is so early in the season, we’re still learning how to put all of our different talented players together,” Bierhals said. “We know our strengths and our capabilities, it’s just fine tuning everything we have been working on.”

Point Park has officially updated its spectator policy for this season and is allowing fans to come to home games at Highmark Stadium this year. The Policy does not require masks but highly encourages them as well as social distancing in the stands to help against the spread of COVID-19.