OWINGS MILLS, MD – The York College women’s soccer team fell hard Wednesday afternoon to host Stevenson University 4-1 in a battle of two of the top three squads in the Capital Athletic Conference. The loss drops the Green and White’s record to 12-4-1 (5-1-1 CAC) while the Mustangs improve to 11-3-1 (6-1 CAC).
The host Mustangs began the match dictating play throughout the opening minutes. That consistent pressure proved too much for the Green and White to handle as they surrendered a trio of tallies within the first 28 minutes, as all three came within a brief 12:36 span.
Stephanie Eyler buried Stevenson’s opening salvo in the 15th minute. Eyler, the reigning CAC Rookie-of-the-Year, dribbled into the right side of the box before quickly cutting back to her left foot, hammering her attempt into the back of the Spartan net.
The Mustangs notched their second just 6:23 later on one of the most unlikely goals the Spartans have seen all season. From the left corner of the pitch, Lauren Bauer played a service to the top of the box finding an on-running Alison Humphries. Humphries leapt toward the ball leading with her right foot in ninja-kick style. The junior caught just enough of the service with the outside of that right boot, spinning it up into the air. In a once-in-a-lifetime type of score, Humphries’ redirection tucked just inside the far right post giving the hosts a 2-0 advantage.
Eyler then tallied the third in Stevenson’s flurry, adding her team-high 14th goal of 2009. Melinda Kane drew the Spartan defense at the top of the box before slipping an easy pass to the right. Unfortunately for York, Eyler was the recipient of that pass. Stevenson’s goal-scoring machine calmly collected the pass, then slotted a strike into the left panel just out of the reach of a sprawling Sarah Spanarkel (Toms Rivers, N.J./Toms River North).
The first 45 would come to a close without any further Stevenson fireworks. The Mustangs led 7-3 in shots at the break while the squads tied with three corners each.
Coming out an inspired bunch in the second half, the visitors began their comeback effort within the first two minutes of the stanza. Freshman Kat Sipes (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) collected a loose ball on the left side of the Mustang box. Sipes shook an on-rushing defender before lofting a right-footed bender that flew over the outstretched arms of Lauren Weitzman and into ride-side netting. With 43:09 to play, Sipes’ fourth tally of her collegiate career brought the Spartans to within two at 3-1.
Kat Torode (Brick, N.J./Brick Township) nearly tallied York’s second of the match in the 57th minute. Torode collected the ball in the Spartans’ offensive third before dribbling into the box and slipping just by a Stevenson defender. The senior’s ensuing shot sailed over Weitzman but clanged off the crossbar leaving the two-goal deficit.
York’s inspired play however would fall short as their hosts proved to be too much on this day. The Mustangs would dash any outside hopes of a Spartan comeback in the 68th minute, notching their fourth of the game on Kane’s eighth of the season. Kane put away a Katie Decker assist to increase Stevenson’s lead to a significant 4-1.
To the Spartans’ credit, the Green and White continued to work throughout the remainder of the frame. A Kaitlyn Harney (Stewartstown, Pa./York Catholic) left-footed 20-yard attempt in with less than 12 minutes to play forced Weitzman to push the attempt over the bar, which eventually resulted in a harmless corner. Junior forward Steph Mergler (Street, Md./North Harford) tried to almost single-handedly bring the Spartans back as put in one of her better individual efforts of the year evidenced by her unrelenting work-rate.
The 90 minutes came to a close with York owning a surprising 16-10 advantage in shots as well as an 8-3 lead in corners.
Spanarkel takes the loss in net for the Spartans as she made a pair of saves. Weitzman recorded five saves in the Mustang victory.
York will look to get back on track this Saturday, October 24, when they host CAC foe Wesley at 12:30 p.m. Prior to their final league and home match of the season, the Spartans will celebrate senior day honoring this season’s five seniors.
Kat Sipes photo courtesy of Scott Guise