Enrique Carrasco, Editor
On Sun. Oct 9, the Lasalle Explorers women’s soccer team faced off against the Fordham Rams. The Explorers came into the game 6-6-1 in the season (1-4 in conference play), while the Rams came in with a record of 4-7-1 (3-1-1 in conference play). The Explorers’ early success in the season came to a halt midway through the season, grinding their momentum to a screeching halt. This is the first win over The Explorers fell into a mid-season slump, drawing and losing essential games. After a loss to Duquesne, the Explorers were put into a “do or die ” situation if they wanted any sort of shot at a postseason run. Luckily for the Explorers, that is just what they got with this win.
The game was off to a quick start, with both sides trading shots and attempts at goals. Despite this, no team was able to find the back of the net. It was not until the 34th minute that Junior midfielder Kelli McGroarty was able to get the ball past the goalkeeper from 25 yards out, putting the Explorers up 1-0. This goal sparked momentum within McGroarty, as 5 minutes after, she was able to take the ball from the Fordham defender and was able to find the back of the net in the 38th minute, putting the Explorers up 2-0. Not even 3 minutes later, McGroarty was able to complete her hat trick after a pass into the box came from Sophomore midfielder Sunni DiElmo which McGroarty was able to strike into the net, putting the Explorers up 3-0. McGroarty’s hat trick happened in a span of six minutes and 54 seconds. The Explorers outshot the Rams 11-4 in the first half. The Explorers went into halftime leading 3-0.
The second half of the game was much slower than the first, with only a few shots being exchanged between both teams. In the 53rd minute, Sophomore midfielder Gabby Picco drew a yellow card after a personal foul on the rams, and in the 72nd minute, a Fordham player drew the first yellow card for her team after a personal foul. The game continued like this until the 80th minute, after a Ram midfielder drew the first goal of the game for the Rams, putting them at a 3-1 disadvantage. The Explorer’s defense would continue to stop the Rams, only allowing them to get off 6 shots in the half, while the Explorers shot seven times. The Explorers outshot the Rams 18-10 in the game.
In a post-game interview, the player of the match, Kelli McGroarty, stated, “This win is definitely momentum. We dropped the ball halfway through the season. There were a couple of games early on that we probably should have won, but this game put us back on track. Unfortunately, we have to win out from now on, so this is definitely a helpful game to move us forward in the conference.” Regarding the fact that the team must win from here on out, McGroarty stated, “Our situation is what we call ‘do or die.’ It’s not the situation we want to be in because we’d rather have some wiggle room. We’re in an alright situation right now, we don’t have to rely on other teams [winning or losing], which is good. Also, if you look at the standings and the schedule we have left, we should win, and that should help boost us up in the ranking. This means we potentially have an excellent chance of making the playoffs.”
When asked about the playoffs and their chances of making a long playoff run, McGroarty stated, “We’ve been manifesting A-10s since last year; as soon as the season ended, we were saying it. I think that the chances of us winning are still high. I think our hardest game would be St. Louis, if we make it to the finals, it would probably be us against them, and the game would probably be away, which is good because we do better on the road. Essentially, we have very good hopes.” McGroarty’s hat trick during this game was her first-ever hat trick, and the excitement within McGroarty was palpable. When asked how this is going to influence her, McGroarty stated, “It was a pretty cool feeling. The first goal had fallen down, and when I saw it go in, I just put my head down, and I remember saying, ‘thank God. I have been in a sort of drought since the beginning of the season. I had a few early on, but then I kind of stopped, so it was a nice little pick-me-up. But also, it just proved that when we take shots, they go in, which is something we have been working on as a team [attacking overall]. So, we also did really well with that, we had 11 shots in the first half, and they only had four. That’s a big statement as to why we had so many goals this game.” When asked about the rest of the season, she stated, “the rest of the season looks good. The cards are on our table. We need to win. But you know, things can go south all the time, we had a game where we were up 1-0, and we lost 4-1 (referring to their loss against St. Louis), Everything can change in an instant, so we just have to keep rolling and keep putting balls in the back of the net and let them do it as much. We do that, and we’ll keep winning games.” McGroarty credits the team’s toughness, hard work, and determination to their success thus far and will work towards improving their standings.
The Explorers will travel to Richmond for their next in-conference game of the season.