WSOC & WVB: Colonels travel to N.J. for weekend matchups

A pair of Colonel teams traveled to New Jersey on Saturday to play in non- conference matchups. The women’s soccer team played at Rutgers-Newark while the women’s volleyball team played Drew University and Mount Saint Vincent in a tri-match.

Rutgers-Newark got off to an early lead in the game, scoring their first goal just 10 minutes in. The Colonels defense was stout for the rest of the game, rarely allowing the opposition onto their side of the field.

For the next 80 minutes, Wilkes looked for an equalizer but was unable to find one on the stifling Scarlet Raiders defense.

With three minutes remaining in the game, the Colonels were on the attack and had two shots on goal.

Despite powerful attempts on the shots, both potential goals were saved by the Rutgers-Newark goalkeeper.

“Give credit to their goalkeeper,” said head coach John McNichol. “She made three unbelievable saves that kept us off the board.

The women’s soccer team eventually fell to Rutgers-Newark 1-0.

“I am extremely proud of all of us because when they scored, not one single person put their head down and gave up,” said senior forward Tatiana Mancera

The Colonels had their fair share of opportunities in the afternoon, as they led the game in shots 16-5. They were just unable to get one of their shots to fall in the back of the net.

“I think in practice we can continue to work on staying connected both on the attack and when defending,” said senior midfielder Emily Bidelspach. “We can also continue to work on finishing off restarts and the corner opportunities we get.”

The Colonels have reached a three game losing streak, but a rotation of their veteran players have seen this situation before.

“We need to continue to trust in the plan and keep working. We have a good team; we just have not been on the right end of the score this week,” said McNichol. “Games like this will help us as we progress through our season.”

A half an hour down the road in the Garden State, the women’s volleyball team found some success as they split a pair of matches against Mount Saint Vincent and Drew University.

In their first game of the day, Wilkes found themselves trailing 1-0 to the Dolphins of MSV.

This was now the Colonels’ fourth straight set loss against the team as they had been swept just a week prior in a match in Wilkes-Barre.

“Our success this week is attributed to executing our game plan and having faced them recently,” said head coach Joseph Czopek. “Although we started out slow off the bus, once warmed up it was a solid team effort.”

First-year members Alexis Reedy and Alexa Cassel found their groove in their last three sets. The two rookies have shown their versatility for the Colonels. Reedy led the match in kills with 14, while Cassel had a team high 20 assists and 16 digs.

“Since day one the team has been so encouraging and welcoming, which has helped boost my confidence while playing,” said Cassel. “It’s really just important to trust yourself and your team in the end.”

With strong play from the whole team, the Colonels were able to win the last three sets 25-21, 27-25, 25-23 to earn the victory in the match.

The team was unable to find the same success against Drew University as they lost in three straight sets to earn the loss. Having to play back-to-back matches, Drew took advantage of a worn down Colonels team.

Sophomore libero Ali Yordy had a notable performance in the tri-match as she recorded 10 digs in both games.

“I’m definitely trying to take on more of a leadership role on and off the court, and also keeping a good relationship with all the girls on the team,” said Yordy. “Whenever we get down, I want to be the person to keep everyone going with high energy.”

Although losing to Drew, the Colonels were very pleased to be coming home with a win after playing two very good programs.

“The strength of our early season schedule is it has the young team gaining valuable experience,” said Czopek. “Facing strong competition allows them to see what they are capable of achieving by working hard in practice to prepare. Their positive attitude and willingness to play for each other will pay huge dividends as our season goes on.”

Both teams play a pair of games this week as women’s soccer plays a pair of games at Bruggeworth Field tonight and Saturday against Susquehanna and Messiah, respectively. Women’s volleyball returns to the Marts Center on Thursday to take on Cairn University.

Thee Beacon/Ariel Reed – First-year Alexis Reedy serving the ball against Marywood University in an attempt to keep the Colonel momentum going.
The Beacon/Steve Finkernagel – Senior forward Emily BIdelspach holds strong against a King’s defender.