Women’s Soccer Starts Season 1-4-1

Charlie Maisano, Staff Writer

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Prior to the start of the season, the Fordham women’s soccer team knew its out of conference schedule would be a challenge. Currently, the team is 1–4–1 and is working out the kinks in order to be ready for the beginning of A-10 play at the end of September.

Its first four games in late August and early September included matchups on the road against #10 Tennessee, Rutgers, Manhattan and Hofstra.

After going 1–3 in that stretch, the Rams returned home last week for a two-game homestand against the Columbia Lions and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. In the team’s first home game of the year, head coach Jessica Clinton said that being able to stay at Rose Hill had an impact on her team after the tough four-game road trip.

“I think it made the team more eager to play at home,” she said. “Playing at Tennessee and Rutgers certainly posed its normal travel challenges. Although we were not playing on our home turf, we were still able to enjoy the comfort of being home to prepare for Manhattan and Hofstra.”

For the home opener on Thursday night, the Rams and Lions started off slowly, as neither team was able to score in the first half.

In the second half, the Lions quickly got on the board courtesy of sophomore midfielder Jessica Schildkraut. Schildkraut, in the 47th minute, sent a shot into the upper left corner of the net that was unable to be stopped by goalkeeper Kelly LaMorte.

After Mallaika Tomar scored her first goal of the season for the Lions to make it 2–0, the Rams needed to counter. Junior forward Crea Baker-Durante would answer the call in the 58th minute, as she put the ball in the back of the net off of a corner kick from junior midfielder Maura Holst.

That would be the only scoring from the Rams, as the Lions scored on one more goal from Cayla Davis to give Columbia the 3–1 victory.

Carrying a two-game losing streak back to Rose Hill, Fordham looked to rebound against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Sunday afternoon. Following a relatively slow and scoreless first half, the Mountain Hawks ramped up the pressure on the Rams defense after halftime. The visitors took a whopping sixteen shots in the second half, which were all stopped by the Rams, including six saves from LaMorte.

“Kelly has been strong in goal for us,” said Clinton. “Lehigh certainly posed some great challenges, but I thought the backline did a wonderful job in bending, but not breaking.”

Even with all of those shots and opportunities, Lehigh was never able to break through on the scoreboard. The game went all the way into double overtime, and when the final whistle blew, neither team came out on top.

Next, the Rams will go back on the road for four more games. This week includes matchups with another Ivy League opponent, the Yale Bulldogs, on Thursday night. Then Fordham heads north for a showdown with the Syracuse Orange on Sunday afternoon.

Although both teams pose a threat to the Rams, Clinton said her team is up for the challenge.

“One of the best parts about this team is that I had an opportunity to create a very difficult schedule to see where we are as a program,” she said. “Our freshman class has been ranked #49 in the nation, and Dani Etienne is ranked as one of the top #10 freshman in the country.”

She is the only non-power five player on the list. “We want to see what we are made of,” Clinton said.

With A-10 play right around the corner, the team has a couple more chances to see where they stand amongst its competitors. These games will be crucial, and the Rams are poised to show that they are ready for whatever comes next.