WSOC: Towlen’s goal lifts Lady Colonels in victory over #18 Misericordia

Kirsten Peters, Staff Writer

On Oct. 18, the Wilkes University Lady Colonels beat No. 18 Misericordia University  1-0 in an intense, defensive battle between the two statistically-best defensive teams in the Middle Atlantic Conference (Freedom).

Junior Nicolette Towlen scored the only goal of the game, giving the Lady Colonels a 1-0 lead during the 29th minute of play.

Sophomore Jessica Egan cleared the ball from Wilkes’s defensive end 28:15 into play. Senior Ema Sabovic kicked the ball just in front of the middle field line, causing Towlen to have to race against two of Misericordia’s Lady Cougars to get to the right side box. With the goalkeeper running towards Towlen to try and take away her angle, Towlen shot the ball to score the only goal of the night, making that her second goal of the season and the eighth of her career.

When reflecting on her goal, Towlen said, “The threw ball came and I knew I had the defense beat – I just knew it was going in after that.” With a grin on her face, Towlen noted, “I don’t really remember much after that.”

But even if Towlen doesn’t remember, Head Coach John Sumoski does, he said, “We did what we needed to do coming into the game. Nikki had a great goal and ran her butt off the entire game, so it was awesome.”

With 61 minutes of play left after Towlen’s goal, the game became a battle of the defenses. Junior goalkeeper Courtney Stanley blocked a shot by Jackie Stevens at the 82:39 mark, stopping the Cougars from having any more shot opportunities for the remainder of the game. This gave Stanley five saves for the game and her seventh shutout of the season, moving her into a tie for second in program history for shutouts in a season.

After winning this conference road game, Wilkes has improved its record to 10-2-2 overall and to 4-1-0 in the conference. Misericordia, being ranked at No. 18 by the United Soccer Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the region, has taken a hit to their record, falling to 11-3-2 overall and 4-1, the same as the Lady Colonels, in the conference.

With only two MAC Freedom games remaining, there are four teams tied at 4-1 in the conference: Wilkes, Misericordia, Eastern and DeSales.

After the win to tie the Lady Colonels and the Cougars in the conference, Sumoski commented on the rigor of conference games, noting, “Well, conference games are always going to be tough games. They’re usually only one or two goal games.”

Although Sumoski acknowledged the anticipated challenges of conference games, he also noted that the Lady Colonels always set out to take care of what they can control ahead of time.

“We had a very good scouting report coming in,” explained Sumoski. “We’ve seen Mis. a lot, so I thought we were very prepared and knew that we were going to weather a bit of a storm at times because they have some girls who can really strike the ball well.”

Overall, Towlen’s goal and a solid defensive performance by the Lady Colonels led the team to victory over the Misericordia Lady Cougars.