Titan women’s soccer slays Benedictine

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Eric Gilbert, Staff Writer

 

The number-four-ranked Illinois Wesleyan women’s soccer team travelled north on Wednesday, Sept. 9 to take on Benedictine University. The Titans were finally able to find some rest for their starters as they cruised to a 7-0 victory.

The starters for the Titan squad have logged a high amount of minutes so far, especially after only four games. The dominant victory allowed coach Dave Barrett to give his starters some much needed rest, in addition to getting other players valuable experience early on this season.

It was a tale of two halves for a Titans team who seems to consistently capitalize on their chances.  Despite out-shooting Benedictine 15-0 in the first half, they walked away only leading 1-0 on a goal from fifth-year player Tess Bottorff. The Titan shots were not precise, not well placed enough to beat the Whitewater keeper.

The Titans entered Benedictine with a perfect record of 3-0 while the Eagles were 2-1.  After three hard fought wins against top opponents including the Wisconsin Warhawks, ranked number 20 in the CCIW, the Titans saw Bottorff log her first goal of the year.

“It was a great goal by Tess but we definitely should have scored a few more.  I think we made the proper adjustments for the second half, came out, and put our chances away,” said senior Sydney Fox.

Fox would go on to score one of six goals for the Titans in the second half.  Both Fox and fellow senior Mary Kate Schmidt connected on penalty kicks, while first year Natalie Orozco tallied her first collegiate goal to make it 4-0 in favor of the Titans.

Junior Skyler Tomko picked up her scoring fever right where she left off last season, scoring the next two for the Titans.  The Titans will look to rely on Tomko to continue putting the ball in the back of the net, especially as conference season begins. She scored 14 goals in the 2014 campaign, which is tied for seventh all-time in an IWU women’s soccer single season.

“I thought we really turned it on in the second half.  Rachel Schneider was able to find me in front of goal and I did my best to stay composed and put the ball in the back of the net,” said Tomko.

Sophomore Alyssa Dorning closed out the 7-0 triumph in the 63rd minute on another assist from sophomore Rachel Schneider.  Schnedier had three assists off the bench while Bottorf, junior Sarah Trach and first-year Cici Gazder all contributed one apiece.  While it was an encouraging victory for the Titans, they must stay focused, knowing every game will continue to be a challenge as the season progresses.

“It’s great that were winning but we need to stay humble.  We have a target on our backs and every team is going to come out and play their best against us,” said Bottorf.

After last year’s heartbreaking final four defeat, it’s obvious that the NCAA tournament is something each player thinks about frequently.  That being said, they know it is a marathon, not a sprint, and they must take it one game at a time.

The Titans will resume action on Friday, Sept. 11.  They will face off against Sewanee: The University of the South under the lights of Neis field at 7:00 p.m.