The women’s soccer team extended its winning streak to 13 games by defeating Susquehanna 2-0 at Fitzpatrick Field Saturday.
According to a poll released Oct. 22 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the women’s soccer team is now ranked 8th in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Scranton’s winning streak is the second-longest active streak in Division III, trailing behind undefeated Montclair State’s 14-match winning streak.
Head coach Colleen Murphy said it is nice to have this winning streak, but it is not something that the team is focused on.
“We’re really trying to take it one game at a time and prepare the best we can for each game,” Murphy said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of success within the last month.”
The team has outscored its opponents 37-6 during the streak. The three-time defending Landmark Conference champion Royals are now 13-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play. With the loss, Susquehanna drops to 1-11-2 on the season and 0-4 in the conference.
Coach Murphy said the team has gotten significant contributions from its underclassmen this season.
“It’s important to have younger players who can contribute right away and our team has benefitted from that, especially on the offensive end,” Murphy said.
In the game Saturday, sophomore forward Gianna Vitolo had a goal and an assist and first-year forward Christina Akalski scored a goal. Senior forward Samantha Russo helped set up both goals.
Russo took a shot in the 10th minute that was saved by Susquehanna goalkeeper Rachel Nortbus. Vitolo tapped in the rebound for her fifth goal of the season and ninth of her career. Then in the 50th minute, Russo led Vitolo with a pass in the right corner and Vitolo crossed it to Akalski in front of the net where she redirected the ball into the side netting for her sixth goal of the year.
Royals’ senior goalkeeper Kelsey McAnelly made three saves and recorded her sixth shutout of the season and 29th of her career.
Scranton outshot Susquehanna 26 – 4 and held a 14 – 3 edge in shots on goal.
A pair of Royals won Landmark Conference Awards. Vitolo was named the conference offensive player of the week, and sophomore defender Erin Casey was named the conference defensive player of the week.
Casey said the team is playing very well collectively.
“We’re finishing our goals and we’re playing well defensively because we have only six goals against in the past 10 games,” Casey said.
The Royals will travel to Madison, N.J., Saturday to play a Landmark Conference match against Drew at 1 p.m.
Sophomore midfielder Michaela Arbus said the team thought they were going to do well at the start of the season, but could not have predicted this winning streak.
“We lost a lot of players, but we also have a lot of heart and returners who are going to put in everything they can because we expect greatness,” Arbus said. “That’s what we strive for.”
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