After suffering its first losing streak of the season with consecutive road losses to Bloomsburg and Gannon, the Fighting Scots women’s soccer team defeated visiting Kutztown 4-1 at Sox Harrison Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“We knew we were a good team,” head coach Gary Kagiavas said after the game in response to breaking the two-game skid. “We knew that the Gannon match is not really indicative of who we are, but we played into the elements,” he continued. “We played into the wind and into the rain in the first half. I wasn’t anticipating 4-0, but it’s hard to come back from 4-0, so we knew we weren’t a bad team and we knew we could play with anybody in the conference.”
On the first day of snowfall this fall in Edinboro, the Scots (9-5, 8-4 PSAC) and Golden Bears (8-4-1, 8-4-0) had to deal with several weather conditions that affected the match, according to Kagiavas.
“The snow started sticking in the second half, so it was on the ground and we really couldn’t pass the ball properly, so it was a little more difficult,” Kagiavas said. “It was a little bit more difficult to be able to pass the ball and create opportunities in the second half.”
Just over 90 seconds into the game, sophomore midfielder/forward Ashley Mutkus scored off a rebound as senior midfielder/ forward Jansen Hartmann took a shot off the post to set up her teammate.
“Jansen, I think she was trying to cross it, maybe trying to shoot it and I was just trying to hit it in,” Mutkus said after the game. “Luckily it was a right place, right time kind of thing. I can’t say I had a real big game plan right there.”
In the 17th minute, the Fighting Scots took a 2-0 lead behind a goal from junior forward Alex Brown. The Bay Village, Ohio native scored her third goal of the season on a shot from 25 yards out to extend the Edinboro advantage.
Kutztown got on the board, for their lone goal of the afternoon, on a breakaway play with freshman midfielder/forward Alyssa Ryan booting one past sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Baskey in the 28th minute of the first half.
After Hartmann assisted Mutkus earlier in the half, Mutkus returned the favor on a helper that set up Hartmann’s score with just four minutes remaining in the half to take a 3-1 lead.
Edinboro outshot Kutztown 11-5 in the first half while logging eight shots on goal.
“We had a scouting report,” Kagiavas said. “We knew that our forwards moving are able to create opportunities for us, so we had them being very dynamic today. Actually, we ask them to do that every game, but the way they play, they gave us the channels and it allowed us to get down the sides on them.”
Within just a 15 minute halftime, the snow altered the complexion of the field entirely and changed the dynamic of the match that saw Edinboro in front after 45 minutes.
“The ball, when it was rolling, it was like a snowball, it was building up, it was hardly moving, so it was definitely a challenge to play in the snow like that in the second half,” Mutkus said. “In the first half, I didn’t notice it that much. In the second half, it was definitely rough.”
In a second half where the pace of play completely opposed that of the first frame, Edinboro found one more play to pad their twogoal lead. Alex Brown assisted on yet another Mutkus goal, as Mutkus was operating in front of the net.
Mutkus, who entered the day with three goals on the season, found goals four and five against the Golden Bears.
“It’s exciting, it’s really big and I haven’t scored [in] quite a few games so it was a really good time to get those goals in,” she said.
“Today she was on,” her coach added. “She was in the right place and I’m just hoping we can get more consistency in her ability to score goals, because she is a special, special player.”
Edinboro outshot Kutztown 16-6 with an 11-3 edge in shots on goal.
The Fighting Scots hosted Slippery Rock on Wednesday, after deadline for this issue, and returns to the field on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. match at Sox Harrison Stadium as Edinboro hosts East Stroudsburg.
Mike Fenner is a staff writer for The Spectator.