Molloy Women’s Soccer Falls in Heartbreaker
By JJ Pavlick
The women’s team came in the underdogs with a full-strength squad, during the warmups they lost their starting midfielder Fr. Mikaela Barriga just minutes before the walk out to start the game to a freak injury as she rolled over the ball and injured her ankle badly. The team took it in stride though and was ready to play the match and step up. Mercy in the last appearance between the sides won 5-1 and is the #1 team in the conference and #3 in the region.
Molly held their own in the 1st 10 minutes of the 1st half calming things down for the side. You can see the frustration building in Mercy as they had no answer for Molloy’s strong midfield and backline. Grad student Morgan Camarda was battling all half with Mercy captain Gr. Jessica Hoyt, Morgan kept the captain and lethal crosser quiet all game and started to make her frustrated leading to many unforced errors. Morgan held her own and dealt with the non-stop fouls all half responding in the right way avoiding any looks by the center. Lethal assist leader Sarah Tappeto had a solid first half drawing fouls in dangerous areas and causing panic in the Mercy College side. Nicolich and Natalia pressured the Mercy backline and kept them guessing all half. The two sides battled hard for 45 minutes, and Molloy’s Morgan took a hard foul near the end of the half in her defensive third which required attention at halftime.
The two teams came out to battle in the second half, Morgan was noticeably a step off from her usual speed but that didn’t stop her from stuffing several chances by Mercy at the midfield and just before the final third. It did result though in her not being part of the team’s corner kick attacks which she has become a dangerous player. However, the attack stayed just as dangerous, and Molloy had several chances, but the final touch just evaded them. Their best chance came with four minutes remaining when a perfectly placed cross by Tappeto off a corner kick found a wide-open attacker, but the ball took a bad bounce at the last second and was struck just off target trickling just wide of the post and resulted in a goal kick.
The game would go to OT and both halves saw nonstop attacks and huge saves by Molloy’s goalkeeper Shannon Kilian, she came out and stoned 3 Mercy attacks consecutively then her defenders helped her on one throwing their bodies on the line to deny Mercy’s Fr. Ancksu Dixon from a winning goal in the dying minutes. The match went to penalties, the team got off to a good start with Morgan converting the first attempt, Sarah converted her chance, unfortunatel,y Molloy would miss one kick and while Molloy goalkeeper Kilian guessed right on 4 of 5 chances by Mercy the ball just avoided her fingertips. One of Mercy’s chances hit under the crossbar and bounced in for the lead. Molloy would lose 5-4 on PK’s. It was a hard-fought game by Molloy, and they deserved a better fate that day. They outplayed Mercy for ninety-eight percent of the match, surviving the 1st 10 minutes which was Mercy’s most dominate time in the match. The loss hurt a lot but looking back the team should be proud of the performance they put in. They were expected to struggle and instead took the game to Mercy, down three players to injury and 1 player playing hurt for 75+ minutes. The freshmen felt sad for their seniors and graduate teammates who battled so hard to finish Conference Champions. Molloy’s Kilian finished the match with 10 saves allowing no goals against in play. The entire Molloy team stepped up in the final match and it was a great sign for things to come next season. The team left it all on the line and battled through adversity to go toe to toe with the champs.
It was a pleasure covering the team this season even if for only the last half, but next season I will try to cover them all season and can’t wait to see Molloy win the Conference and more.