Continuing to dominate on home field

Women’s soccer team gains two victories during home openers

Isabella Tranello, Sports Editor

Senior defender Mariah Alexander has been named GNAC Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week. (Courtesy of Rio Giancarlo)

When traveling, the beauty of being in an unfamiliar place can make it difficult to want to leave, but nothing may be better than coming home. Since the beginning of the women’s soccer season this fall, the Falcons have not yet competed on their home field. They played their first three games in California. 

Now that the women have finished those games, the time has come for the Falcons to be welcomed home.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, the women took on the Montana State Billings Yellowjackets. The team went on to play a game filled with fast-paced action, ending in a 5-0 victory for the Falcons. Four of the five goals would be scored within the first half of the game. 

The Falcons scored their first goal 17 minutes into the game as senior midfielder Makena Rietz tapped the ball into the goal off of the right post. Her shot was set up by sophomore forward Sophie Beadle. 

The strong defense shown by the Falcons allowed for them to bring the ball back to the opposing team’s side for senior defender Mariah Alexander to score her first goal of the season. Alexander was named the GNAC Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week. 

The final two goals of the half were scored within two minutes of each other by the same player, sophomore forward Lauren Forster. Scoring these two goals would lead Forster to be the first person on the team to score multiple goals within one game. Forster was also named the GNAC Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week. 

Forster was excited about her achievement, but is more focused on the success of the team as a whole. She was just excited to be able to celebrate on their home field, as it was not something she was used to. 

“If I’m being honest, I didn’t realize that I held that achievement until now, but it feels great! I’d say I’m happier that the overall score was 5-0, though,” Forster said. “Since I’m a sophomore, and last year we couldn’t have fans, that game was kind of like my first real home game. I’d been looking forward to it for a while, so I think I definitely had some extra adrenaline.”

In the second half, the Falcons continued to hold the Yellowjackets off and scored the final goal of the game at the 57-minute mark. This goal would be scored after senior Sophia Chilczuk intercepted the ball from the Yellowjackets on a back pass. 

The second game of the Falcons’ home opener took place on Saturday when they played the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks. The Falcons would shut out their second team of the week as they beat the Nighthawks, 6-0.

During the first half of the game, the Falcons were able to score three goals. Rietz put the Falcons on the board within the first 45 seconds of the game by tapping the ball into the goal from the left post side. 

The second goal was scored by Beadle to the lower left side of the goal after a hard-fought goal-mouth scramble. Six minutes after Beadle’s goal, Forster took the opportunity to score for herself off of an assist by Rietz. The Falcons entered halftime leading by three goals. 

In the second half, sophomore midfielder Rylee Pierce scored her first collegiate goal to make the score 4-0. The celebration on the field for Pierce’s first goal was exhilarating as her team ran to her screaming loudly. 

The final two goals were scored by sophomore AJ DePinto. Her first goal of the game was scored after a shot that lofted over the goalkeeper’s head. Her second and final goal of the game was shot to the left post side after assists from sophomores Mia Mahaffey and Sophie Gardner. 

The women are undefeated with a conference record of 2-0 and a total game record of 5-0. They hope to continue this momentum into the rest of the season, treating every practice as if they are walking into the hardest game of the season. 

One thing our team has been really focusing on in order to keep getting good results is to treat every practice like it’s a game. Everyone is putting in 100 percent every day, and it gets really competitive and fast-paced. Overall, I think it’s paid off so far during our games,” Forster said. “This season, I just want to spend as much time playing with my team as possible. The more we win, the longer we get to play. So I hope we keep winning!”