Women’s Soccer Still Looking for Answers on Offense

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Fordham Women's Soccer is off to a slow start offensively. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Charlie Maisano, Staff Writer

The out-of-conference schedule for the Fordham women’s soccer team is nearing an end, and the team has dealt with some tough competition to date.

This past week, the Rams faced off against the Yale Bulldogs and the Syracuse Orange. Both games were away. Following the team’s tie against Lehigh on Sept. 8 at Jack Coffey Field, their record was 1–4–1 and they looked to gain any possible momentum before Atlantic-10 play begins this week.

The first matchup against Yale last Thursday night started off on a bad note. In a high-pressure first half, where Yale only outshot Fordham 5–4, the Bulldogs scored two goals off of mistakes by the Rams. Ellery Winkler broke the ice for Yale after she intercepted a careless pass and scorched one from the top of the box past Rams senior goalie Kelly LaMorte. It was Winkler’s fourth goal of the season.

In the 42nd minute, Mia Grillo notched her first goal of the season off a header, thanks to a cross in the box by teammate Saje Brar. Grillo was open in the box because she was unmarked, which made it easy for her to score.

“I thought we played very well against Yale,” said head coach Jessica Clinton. “It may have been our best soccer to date as we were solving problems, holding on to the ball and possessing well. Yale caught us on two of our own mistakes, but those are fixable mistakes.”

The Rams were unable to get anything going in the second half, and ultimately, fell to the Bulldogs, 2–0. That dropped their record to 1–5–1 and improved Yale’s record to 3–2–0.

The bus rides didn’t end there, as Fordham hopped right back on and headed north to face Syracuse on Sunday afternoon. Entering the day, the Atlantic Coastal Conference squad had a long bus ride of their own during the week. They fell to St. John’s in Queens, 1–0, on Thursday night, extending their losing streak to four games. Both teams were working hard to get into the win column.

While the Orange had plenty of opportunities to end their streak, the Rams defense and LaMorte had other plans. LaMorte made a career-high nine saves and held Syracuse scoreless the entire game. The Rams wouldn’t capitalize on either though, as the day ended in a scoreless tie. It was LaMorte’s 13th career shutout and is only one behind Megan Fitzgerald (16), for third all-time in program history.

“She put us in a position to be successful, but so did our defensive unit,” said Clinton. “The best part is, what we are seeing, is that our back line, defensively, is starting to come together.”

Up next, the Rams play one more road game at Stony Brook and then return home on Sunday for their first A-10 matchup of the year against St. Bonaventure. With the out of conference schedule on the verge of conclusion and the Rams’ record sitting at 1-5-2, Clinton believes there were plenty of positives for making the schedule as rough as it was.

“The goal was to have the team be uncomfortable in the beginning, where it became the norm,” said Clinton. “Thus far, how we are finishing the non-conference portion, despite the results when we’ve been exposed, we’ve dealt with it and have worked on those details. This is the toughest non-conference schedule that I believe the program has seen in quite some time. Hopefully, we get to move forward and see some success in conference play that will lead us to the postseason.”

The A-10 Tournament is a long way away, but clearly Clinton has a lot of confidence moving forward, and her team is making strides to be the best team possible come November.