It may have taken over a year, but the College of Charleston women’s soccer team can put a CAA win on the board.
The Cougars downed Elon, 3-1, in their CAA home opener on Friday night, as they renewed their old Southern Conference rivalry with the Phoenix.
Charleston entered the game coming off two road CAA losses to Delaware and Drexel, and having lost five out of their last seven games.
The Cougars were able to fend off several threatening attacks in the first 20 minutes, due in part to a strong physical showing by Hope Walker. However, Elon continued to get the ball forward, mainly finding success with senior forward Marissa Russo on the right wing. Russo had a golden opportunity to give Elon the lead in the 26th minute, but sent the ball high over the crossbar.
Charleston freshman midfielder Tracey Webster opened up the scoring thanks to a terrific set up by Mary Kate Bowers. Webster sent the bouncing ball from outside the box beyond the outstretched arms of Elon keeper Kate Murphy for a stunning first goal.
Finding the back of the net seemed to boost the Cougars’ confidence, as just minutes later the attack struck again, as Bowers connected for the score for a 2-0 lead.
In the 83rd minute, Bowers found a way down the left wing before making an excellent move around her defender into the box. She then buried a right-footed bullet into the back of the net for her second goal of the evening, giving the Cougars a commanding three goal lead.
The Phoenix would respond moments later with a controversial goal. As Elon’s Russo put a high arcing shot in the air, Charleston keeper Lauren Killian got under the ball, but Elon’s Susannah Anderson made contact with Killian and the ball found its way into the net. Anderson’s contact with Killian was not ruled a foul and the goal stood.
That was all Elon would manage on the Cougars, who were thrilled to get the winless monkey off their backs.
“I’m really proud of the players,” head coach Christian Michner said. “They did the work. We knew coming into this week we’d have to work hard because this league is never easy, and I’m really proud of their approach. Elon is a good team, and we’re renewing the rivalry we had in the SoCon for so many years. We’re excited about that and it certainly feels great to get the win.”
Coming off their big win on Friday, Charleston hosted William & Mary on Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point. The Cougars could not carry over their momentum, losing 2-0 to the Tribe.
William & Mary was the better team from the onset, as their athleticism helped them control possession in the opposing half of the field. Despite the constant pressure and barrage of shots, Killian remained solid, tying a career-high with an impressive nine saves on the afternoon.
The Cougars’ attack lacked the same explosiveness that they had on Friday night. Sarah Cardamone led the Cougars on a pair of threatening counter attacks for their best chances in the first half, but neither opportunity produced a shot on goal.
Charleston kept the Tribe off the board until the 54th minute, when they broke through on a long throw-in. The pass came into the box from the sideline, taking a big bounce off a group of players- including a Charleston defender- before slipping past Killian.
The Tribe pushed their lead to 2-0 minutes later, when Emory Camper made a quick cut right atop the box to free herself for a low shot to the far post, just beyond Killian’s outstretched arms.
Killian’s outstanding play in net kept the game within reach as William & Mary outshot Charleston, 19-3.
Charleston (5-8-0, 1-3 CAA) takes a two-game road trip to the mid-Atlantic, stopping at James Madison next Friday and Towson on Sunday.