Women's Soccer Defeats Wesleyan 3-1, Starts Season 2-0

Women's Soccer Defeats Wesleyan 3-1, Starts Season 2-0

The Oglethorpe women's soccer team doubled up on their excellent start to the season Wednesday night, improving to 2-0 with a 3-1 victory over Wesleyan at the Oglethorpe Track and Field. The Stormy Petrels controlled the game throughout, spending an outsize portion of it in their attacking third. They built a 2-0 lead early in the second half and, though the visiting Wolves got a goal back, were able to put the game away late.

The Petrels were on their front foot the entire first half, putting constant pressure on the Wolves' defense. They took seven corner kicks in the first half and outshot Wesleyan 9-2 during that stretch. With all the pressure they applied, they were bound to break through with a goal eventually, and they did just that in the 26th minute. Senior defender Annabelle Geiger played in a ball over the top that found sophomore forward Medina Besic, and she beautifully chipped it over the goalkeeper and into the net for her second goal in as many games. 

Oglethorpe led just 1-0 at halftime, but the one-way traffic continued at the start of the second half, and in the 50th minute, it was freshman midfielder Sam Thornton who beat the Wesleyan goalkeeper to the upper left corner of the net for her first career goal after senior midfielder Celina Kassam played her through, giving the Petrels the 2-0 lead. The home side continued to get plenty of chances, taking four corner kicks in the final 45 minutes and outshooting the Wolves 8-4 during that span. 

The Petrels appeared in control, but Wesleyan gave themselves a chance in the 81st minute when Fetlework Blitch scored directly from a corner kick to make it 2-1. Oglethorpe quickly responded and put the game away six-and-a-half minutes later, though, when sophomore midfielder Jalisa Kassam collected a Wesleyan giveaway and bombed a shot in the upper-right corner of the net from distance to make it 3-1 in the 87th minute. 

"I thought we played relatively well," said Oglethorpe head coach Wes Anania. "Maybe we could've been a little more consistent, but we started the second half with a great run of play and were able to score the goal that put us ahead 2-0. We wanted to come out pressing them, and I think we gave them a lot of trouble when they had the ball at their feet. We eventually broke through with the goal and that allowed the game to further open up for us, I thought."

For the game, Oglethorpe outshot the visitors 17-6, including a 10-4 mark in shots on goal. The Petrels also took 11 corner kicks to Wesleyan's two. Freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Bolas improved to 2-0 on the season, making three saves in the process, including a couple big ones in the second half. Celina and Jalisa Kassam both took four total shots, each putting three of them on target.

The Petrels will next travel to Dayton, Tennessee, for their first road game of the season against NAIA opponent Bryan Friday at 5 p.m. It will be a rematch of a game the Petrels dropped 2-1 during the 2016 season.

"We're looking forward to the Bryan game on Friday," said Anania. "Last year was a well-played game that we came out on the short end of, so we'd like to be able to turn that around this time. For us, it's going to be about making sure that we get a solid effort from our group. If we can do that, hopefully we can pick up another win."