Worchester Polytechnic Institute scored a pair of late goals to beat the women’s soccer team 3-1 on Saturday.
Emerson started well early in the game as they controlled the offensive flow. Junior forward Veronica Alberts helped take an early lead in the sixth minute with her second goal of the season on a shot to the top right corner off a cross from senior forward Jess Frost.
WPI equalized in the 12th minute when Kristen McCrea fired a shot past freshman goalkeeper Megan Rose on the back of a counterattack.
Emerson had several chances late in the first half to retake the lead but could not capitalize as shots went wide and WPI’s defense held firm.
Head coach David Suvak said that, despite losing the game, he was proud of the team’s performance.
“I think that the first half—our style of soccer and our possession and our attacking—was very good, and if we could’ve converted one more goal in that time frame, we would’ve been in a little better situation,” Suvak said. “I was happy with the way we played in the first half in particular.”
Suvak said the team tried to slow down WPI’s star players, which worked for most of the game.
“We were working on their target forward and covering her—we did that very well,” Suvak said. “We also worked with midfielders, covering one of their top players, number 10, and I think they did a very good job with her. So I think overall the team played a very good game.”
In the second half, WPI exerted control of the game as they gradually pressed and attacked Emerson’s defensive half.
Despite holding on for most of the second half, Emerson conceded in the 81st minute when Leah Beauton chipped the ball into the bottom right corner to give WPI a 2-1 lead. A minute later, WPI breached Emerson’s defense again as a through ball allowed Beauton to fire a shot into the net for a 3-1 lead to win the game for the Engineers.
Alberts said WPI’s counterattacks caught the Lions off guard in the late stages of the game.
“I think it was a full breakdown of the team—it started in the middle and, when a player is dribbling at our defenders, it’s hard to know when to stop ‘cause they can easily poke it around you,” Alberts said. “I think we should focus in a bit more—it’s just one goal, and we still had 15 minutes to go or something like that. I think it was a more mental than physical lapse.”
Emerson had four shots in the first half but only two in the second, while WPI had three in the first but 14 in the second.
Suvak said WPI’s counterattacks in the second half forced a change in formation.
“We went from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-3-2 which was putting more attackers forward, leaving us a little more susceptible to defending. We were defending with [fewer] numbers,” Suvak said. “But again, I think they were playing really well—it just got caught with too many people forward trying to score goals.”
With the loss, Emerson dropped to 2-2 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and sits in seventh place out of eleven in the conference standings. Emerson women’s soccer will play on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. against Wheaton College.