Franciscan University of Steubenville’s women’s soccer team set the tone for an exciting season with a 7-0 shutout against Thiel College this past Saturday at home. Conquering the oppressive heat and humidity, the Lady Barons fought to set the records straight after their previous season’s close loss to Thiel.
The game started off with high energy from both teams, manifesting in frequent attempts on goal from both sides. For the first 20 minutes the scoreboard remained blank, with both teams on edge and hungry to score.
The Lady Barons’ efforts finally paid off when senior midfielder Elizabeth Dawyot scored off a misplaced deflection from Thiel’s goalkeeper. This success was shortly followed up in the 24th minute by junior defender Emma Cross, who received a great ball off of a free kick from Dawyot, and shot it past Thiel’s keeper, bringing Franciscan’s lead to 2-0.
However, the Lady Barons did not stop there. Five minutes later, senior midfielder Emily Wieszczek was substituted into the game and scored within a minute of entering the field. She continued to score throughout the game, scoring two more consecutive goals in the 65th and 68th minutes and ending the game with the first hat trick of the season.
First-time Head Coach Bernardo Gonzalez praised Wieszczek’s efforts, calling her “a senior captain (who stepped) up when we needed it the most.”
While senior goalkeeper Sarah Luebking protected the team’s goal with key saves, the Lady Barons pushed hard to successfully connect passes and work together to win a decisive victory against the Lady Tomcats.
Cross, Dawyot, sophomore forward Gracie Tillman and freshman forward Clare Burgess contributed more goals, exhilarating the crowd of students and members of the Franciscan family that came to cheer the team on.
Going into this season, the team is projected to place third in their Allegheny Mountain Conference, and this win marks “one step in the right direction,” said Gonzalez. “The bar has been raised.”
The Lady Barons look forward to their next home game against Bethany College at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5.