After missing the Patriot League tournament in 2011 and 2012, the women’s soccer team clinched a spot in the playoffs this year with a 2-0 shutout against Holy Cross at Emmitt Field on Oct. 26, its fifth shutout of the season.
It was Homecoming Weekend and Senior Day for the Bison, and they knew that destiny was in their own hands. The scoring started in the first half for the Bison, as a defender deflected a Cassie Denger ’15 strike into the net to give the team a 1-0 lead. The Crusaders sent in a barrage of shots towards the end of the first half, but Jessica Ratner ’17 stopped everything in her way in her first collegiate start.
The game went back and forth in the second half as Holy Cross tried to equalize, but the defense stepped up once again, limiting the Crusaders to only a few quality opportunities on offense. Offensively for the Orange and Blue, Chelsey Garkowski ’14 scored with less than five minutes remaining on an assist from Courtney Nelson ’15 to put the game away. This was the fourth goal of the season for the senior, ensuring the Bison fans would leave the stadium happy.
“Helping the team clinch a tournament berth was unbelievable, especially on Senior Day. To be able to start for the first time and get the shutout is something I have honestly dreamed about since I was in high school,” Ratner said.
Holy Cross had 12 total shots, and Ratner made seven saves to secure her first shutout and second win of the season. The Orange and Blue also performed strongly on offense, putting together 18 total shots. Garkowski recorded four shots, while Liz Dwornik ’14, Evelyn Nicinski ’15, and Sarah Bresette ’17 had three shots apiece. This constant offensive pressure led to the ninth straight victory for the Orange and Blue over Holy Cross.
Garkowski, Dwornik, Bridget Gilmartin ’14, Corey Tipton ’14, and Alex Degarmo ’14 were all honored before the game, as this was their final regular season home game as Bison. It was also the 100th career win for head coach Ben Landis.
The Bison are now 7-8-1 overall and 4-3-1 in Patriot League play, with 13 points in the Patriot League standings. In a tie for fourth place with American, the Bison are still in contention for a home game in their quarterfinal match. The Bison’s regular season finale will be on Nov. 2 at Boston University at 2 p.m.
“Going into Boston University, I think the focus needs to be on keeping possession of the ball and playing our hearts out, not just to get the win but for each other. Boston is a really good team and in order to beat them we have to work together, keep possession, and never give up,” Ratner said.