EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. — The Wilkes women’s soccer team faced the number one team in the country, Messiah University, on Saturday at Brudgeworth field. The Eagles drubbed the Colonels with a final score of 4-1.
“Messiah is a great team. In preparation, we trained how we wanted to defend and paid attention to their team’s shape,” said head coach John McNichol.
The game plan worked as the Colonels dominated the first half. Their defense was stoudt against the high scoring Eagles, and senior midfielder Emily Bidelspach had an outstanding goal in the 24th minute to give Wilkes the lead. Running into open space, the leading goal scorer on the team chipped the ball and it floated right over the goalie’s head and into the back of the net.
“It always feels great to score early and to take the lead, but to score and get ahead today was an amazing feeling,” said Bidelspach.
The Colonels were close to going into halftime with the lead and all the momentum on their side when Messiah scored the equalizer in the 42nd minute.
Wilkes had played shutdown defense up until that point.
“Our communication to each other was a major part in defending them,” said junior defender Abigail Barcless. “We had to talk when picking up marks and handing them off to each other to try and take away their forwards as an option. We wanted to make them think more about how to get behind us.”
Going into the second half as a brand new ballgame, the first team to score was going to have a major advantage.
The Eagles scored just two minutes into the half and it did not stop there. They scored early and often to break the game wide open.
“I think in the second half we just lost some marks on corner kicks and struggled to get the ball out of the back,” said Bidelspach.
The Colonels stayed in the game for as long as possible. The top ranked team in the country proved why they were ranked number one in the second half and just overwhelmed the Colonels who had played well up until that point.
“Playing teams like this will help us as we progress through conference play,” said McNichol. “Our team is focused on improving everyday and games like this will help as we move forward with our season.”
Wilkes has not had the start to the season they have wanted as this is now their fifth consecutive loss. With MAC Freedom quickly approaching, they will look to find a groove soon.
The Colonels will look to bounce back this Sunday as they travel to Williamsport to take on Penn College at noon. Wilkes next home game is Oct. 2nd as they open conference play against FDU-Florham.