The women's soccer team at Chestnut Hill College made a statement last Wednesday night.
The women's soccer team at Chestnut Hill College made a statement last Wednesday night. The host Griffins went into the match tied for fourth place in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, and under the lights at Victory Field in Lafayette Hill, they pulled off a 3-2 upset of league leader Jefferson University.
It was only Chestnut Hill's third win over the Lady Rams in the 15-match history between the two schools. Jefferson, which had been undefeated in the conference this season, went home with a record of 8-1-1 in the CACC and 10-4-1 overall, while CHC improved to 8-4-3, 5-2-3.
The Griffins never trailed in the game, with Jefferson having to answer goals by CHC freshman Rebecca Dalton and post-grad player Maddie Jimenez before senior Olivia Medeiros notched the game-winning third goal for the Griffins with 18 minutes remaining in the second half.
Assists on the first and last Chestnut Hill goals were credited to a pair of freshman starters out of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Lauren Sullivan and Virginia Perry. Both were members of the undefeated 2021 SCH team that won both the Inter-Ac League title and the Pa. Independent Schools championship.
Another new member of the CHC squad this year is Penn Charter grad Kait Carter. Originally signed as a basketball player, Carter had already played two seasons of hoops and of lacrosse for the Griffins. This fall she decided to reprise a role she had played at PC, soccer goalie. She made 12 saves in Wednesday's win over Jefferson; earlier in the season she had been named CACC Goalkeeper of the Week.
While Carter has the college sports routine down by now, it's still new to the 2022 SCH grads.
"It's a lot faster, and there's a lot more energy," Perry said. "Every team in this league is strong."
"In high school, our team was really strong and we expected to win almost all the time," Sullivan observed. "Chestnut Hill, in the past, has been in the lower part of the bracket, so we need to be mentally locked in for every game."
Last Wednesday evening, CHC got on the board about 14 minutes into the action on a play that began with a long free kick from the left side by Sullivan. She drove the ball into the box, and junior Kayla Dougherty got a touch on the ball inside before Dalton booted it in.
Although Jefferson threatened frequently (and would outshoot the Griffins 21-5 in the game), the hosts held onto their 1-0 lead until halftime. Four minutes into the second half, freshman Nikki Dedes tied it up for the Lady Rams, cashing in on a penalty kick. Would Chestnut Hill's early goal and early lead prove to be an anomaly, or could the Griffins forge ahead again?
A little over three minutes later the answer was provided by Jimenez, a former Catholic Academies standout from Villa Joseph Marie. She scored from a crowd in front of the cage, assisted by Medeiros. As the contest reached the 70th minute, Dedes stepped again for Jefferson, tying the match at 2-2.
When play resumed after that goal, Jefferson pushed up the field and earned a corner kick, but no viable shot was forthcoming and the Griffins took the play in the other direction. Perry, working the right wing for much of the night, got the ball into the middle for Medeiros, who put in the eventual winning goal with 18:12 left to play.
CHC staved off several serious attempts by Jefferson to tie it up again. The most anxious moment for the home team came when Lady Rams freshman Mia Ferrara blasted a long ball from the left that bounced off the crossbar of the Chestnut Hill cage.
Afterwards, Sullivan noted that CHC had prepared specifically for the Lady Rams.
"We knew that they play a box in the middle, two middle and two back," she explained. "We usually have three people there, so we switched our formation so we would have enough people to defend them. It seemed like we were defending a lot of the game, but when we got those chances to counter we scored."
The former SCH teammates aren't only together on the field at CHC, they're also roommates at the college.