By Andrew Chirico
Having their first two victories of the season in at home certaintly gave Washington College women’s soccer fans something to celebrate. After shutting out Rosemont College 8-0 in their home opener on Thursday, WC came out on top versus Gwynedd Mercy with a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
“We had a really strong preseason and it was nice to see the team be rewarded with a performance like that. It shows what they can accomplish when they all work for each other,” Head Coach Kerry Smith said.
The Shorewomen scored their first goal against Rosemont just under the ten minute mark when junior captain Steph Scott rebounded a corner kick across from junior Maribeth Harrington. The offense then ignited within just three minutes, scoring three goals. The first two goals came off the foot of the sophomore captain Arianna Sabatino. Sabatino’s goal was result of a hustle play from junior Hayley Hartman, who made a sliding play to keep the ball crossing the goal line, feeding Sabatino with the assist. Then the other Sabatino twin, Oliva, found the back of the net which gave WC a 4-0 lead heading into the half.
WC carried the momentum quickly into the second half when Olivia Sabatino scored her second goal of the game. The twins weren’t done yet as Arianna scored her third and final goal of the game, giving WC a 6-0 advantage. With 30 minutes left in the game, WC still had more fight to give.
It was freshman Kylie Heath and junior Hayley Hartman who finished the offensive explosion, both scoring a goal and rounding out WC’s historical offensive performance, scoring the most goals in a season opener in program history. Arianna had a game-high three goals, while Olivia had a game best of four assists.
Although the Sabatino twins were the headline of the match, Smith was quick to recognize their humble nature. “Knowing Liv and Arianna, they’ll be the first to credit their teammate before themselves,” Smith said. “I think that while Liv and Arianna have the stats in terms of points, a large part of the credit for those points has to go to the other players around them who worked incredibly hard to create those scoring opportunities.”
Now in her last season with the program, senior captain Laura Tocci was impressed with the first game success.
“In the past three years, I believe we have had a few games that we came out with high energy and high intensity, and we were able to have a great game because of that. With that being said, this was by far the best first game of the season I have been a part of,” Tocci said. “ We are still a new team and we are still getting to know each other’s strengths, so it was amazing how well we were able to connect with each other in our first game.”
WC continued the hot scoring in their game versus the Gwynedd Mercy Griffins. Within the first few minutes, the Shorewomen scored their two and only goals of the entire game. Senior captain Paige Cahoon got her team on the board with her first collegiate goal, which came exactly at the one-minute mark. The goal was scored via a double-assist from the Sabatino twins. Junior Maribeth Harrington scored off an assist from Olivia Sabatino, giving her another game-high of two assists. Both twins ended the first week of games with seven total points.
Although WC did not find the net at any other point in the game, the two goals were enough hold off the Griffins and improve to 2-0 on the season, something that hasn’t been done since 2002. Looking back at the teams from past years, Harrington sees a noticeable difference.
“Our team as a whole has improved drastically from previous years,” Harrington said. “The players that come onto the field bring so much energy and momentum that keep us going for the entire 90 minutes. I’m so proud of this team and the huge strides we have made throughout my time here.”
When asked about the team’s success, Smith stressed the importance of being properly prepared well before the season starts. “A big part of that is related to the work they put in with Jonnie Jenkins and his staff in the off-season and by coming into preseason prepared physically to be able to play at a higher intensity. The other aspect is the team’s culture and leadership, which is making a big impact.”
The Shorewomen will return to the field with an away non-conference match at Widener on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2:30 p.m. The team then returns home on Wednesday, Oct. 14 against Goucher at 7 p.m.
“It’s nice to see the players get rewarded for their effort they’ve put in, but it’s important to focus on the next opponent,” Smith said.