Women’s Soccer defeats IU Kokomo in double overtime

Pioneers advance to semifinals as they look to face River States Conference rival, Ohio Valley University Fighting Scots

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The women’s soccer team won a hard-fought battle on Saturday, Nov. 6, against Indiana University Kokomo to start off the River State Conference (RSC) playoffs. At the Montour Junction Sports Complex in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, the Pioneers won in double-overtime 1-0 against the Cougars, advancing to the RSC semifinals. Point Park had made the RSC semifinals as well last year before a COVID-19 outbreak among the team cut their season short in a year where the Pioneers had clinched first place and were 8-2 in RSC play.

“We’re not ready for our season to end, so we’re going to do whatever it takes to keep moving forward,” freshman forward TaMaya Wolford said.

The quarterfinals match up was a slugfest of a matchup with both teams being able to generate chances but never getting that elusive goal that was much needed. The Pioneers and Cougars traded shots throughout the entire first half with IU Kokomo taking eight shots compared to the Pioneers’ six. Only one shot was able to make it on net for either team though at the end of the first half.

The second half was tougher on the Pioneers with the Cougars finding more ways to try and get shots off and taking 15 shots in the second half alone, in comparison to the Pioneers’ seven. Even with the fair amount of offense from both teams, both sides’ defenses and goalkeepers stood tall and kept the ball out of the back of the net. With neither team being able to score, the two teams headed to overtime. IU Kokomo came out firing in the first overtime, shutting down any chances for the Pioneers to get a shot off, while simultaneously being able to take eight shots. With that being said, only one of the eight shots actually made it on net for the Cougars, and, with it being saved, the two once again went to double overtime.

It only took one shot for the match to end. In the 101 minute of the game, within the first two minutes of the second overtime, sophomore Athena Beck made a long pass from midfield all the way up to TaMaya Wolford. Wolford, the leading scorer and points leader for Point Park this season, drove past the defender on her heels, and was able to dribble and knock in the game winning goal past the Cougars keeper to win it for the Pioneers. Wolford’s goal was her sixth on the season, with Beck getting her second assist to help the Pioneers advance to the semifinals.
“All I kept telling myself is ‘you just need one,’” Wolford said. “The amount of heart these girls on this team have is insane, and it truly just drives you to want to do better. Not just for yourself, but for the team in general.”

The Cougars would end up outshooting the Pioneers quite a bit throughout the game, leading in shots in every quarter until double overtime. Although IU Kokomo took more shots, the Pioneers were more efficient. The Cougars took 26 shots, with only 8 landing on net, in comparison to Point Park’s 14 shots, with 6 landing on net. Wolford would also lead the Pioneers in shots and shots on goal once again, taking three and having two land on net, including the game winner. Sophomore goalkeeper Ella Serlin saved all eight shots that landed, preserving yet another shut out, her sixth on the season.

The win helps advance the Pioneers to the RSC playoffs, where they will face off against the number one seeded team in the conference, the Ohio Valley University Fighting Scots. In their only match against one another, the Pioneers lost in overtime 2-1 in late September on the road to the Fighting Scots, leaving the Pioneers eager for revenge in this postseason matchup. Ohio Valley is also the only team in the RSC to be undefeated in conference play this season, at 11-0, and 11-1-1 on the entire season.

“We are all focused on achieving the same goal, and that’s coming home from Ohio (Valley) with a win,” Serlin said. “The mindset is focus and determination.”

The semifinals will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m, on OVU’s home turf in Vienna, West Virginia. If the Pioneers win, they will play against one of IU East or the University of Rio Grande, on the road, on Saturday, Nov. 13. Games are streamable through the RSC website but will cost a fee to watch.