By Alwyn Jimmy, Part-Time Staff Writer
Originally Published October 31, 2023
Despite a competitive performance across a match that went the full-time length, the Saint Vincent College (SVC) women’s soccer team was ultimately defeated in a penalty shootout that went down to the wire.
On a wet and cold night at the UPMC Field, the Bearcats saw their Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) playoff run end in heartbreak. However, the team can hold its head high, as this performance, although an elimination, represented the team’s best run in the conference. The Bearcats made their first PAC tournament appearance since 2013 and hosted their first ever PAC home playoff match.
Despite an evenly contested first half, the tide began to turn against the home side as the Franciscan Barons upped the pressure, comfortably controlling possession and creating chance after chance to get on the scoreboard. The Bearcats managed to weather the storm, and even had the ball in the back of their opponents’ net. However, their joy was short lived, with the goal being chalked off for a tight offside. The closing stages of normal time saw the home side keep themselves in the game with last ditch defending as the Barons tried to break through.
As overtime begam, the Bearcats defended for a large portion. However, the story could have been completely different had the home side’s last-minute attempt not been saved. As the final whistle echoed around the pitch, both teams knew that it was a roll of the dice. One team’s journey would end in a shootout. At the end of it, the Bearcats were edged out by the Barons, the shootout ending 5 to 4 in the Barons’ favor.
Margaret Perkins, junior psychology major and goalkeeper, said the team could look back at the game, reflect, and learn from its results.
“I think our team could really focus on improving our finishing and place focus on that. Penalties are all about finishing.”
Despite the disappointment, Perkins is proud of her team and is impressed at what they have achieved. She said she looked back at the expectations that the team had at the start of the season and felt they had exceeded those expectations.
“Going back to day one, the expectation was that we were going to have to buckle up as it was going to be a long season,” Perkins said. “This game was a big deal for our college in general because it was the first time going to playoffs in a long time.”
Speaking on the plan moving forward, she said, “despite the shock of their exit in the PAC, the plan now is to rebuild, and fix what we need to focus on.”
Women’s Soccer, despite experiencing a difficult season end, has had a historic season for the program. The ten wins gained this season are the most the team has gained in one season since 2012, while this marks only the seventh season in the team's 30-year history where they have won ten or more games.