strongEvan Sporer, Beacon Staff/strong
As the Emerson women’s soccer team took the field Monday, it was clinging to a tie for the eighth and final playoff position in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).
For the Lions, the objective was simple: beat the Emmanuel Saints, the very team the Lions were tied with and playing that day.
Enter Carmen Trobaugh.
The senior captain netted a hat trick in the first half, and Emerson held off a late Saints rally to earn a crucial 3-1 victory.
“I didn’t notice their defense as much as I noticed how hard our team was working,” Trobaugh said. “I wasn’t up there alone. I don’t even think I played that well. I got the goals because of everyone else’s hard work.”
Trobaugh’s three goals were each assisted by a different teammate, as a fluid Emerson attack worked the ball around Saint defenders to grab an early lead.
“I think any time I get [the ball] I try to go, bring it to the baseline, turn the corner and find whoever’s up top. Carmen was there and she was able to put it in,” said Meghan Foehl, another senior captain, who hooked up with Trobaugh on the first goal.
After receiving a pass from Elizabeth Corti, Foehl cut inside and found Trobaugh, who tucked the ball into the netting to give the Lions a lead less than eight minutes in.
Foehl said head coach David Suvak has been stressing to the team the importance of spreading the ball wide, and playing it in on the ground, creating easier scoring opportunities.
Corti again got involved on the second goal, as she picked out Trobaugh making a run through the Saints’ defense. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Trobaugh rocketed the ball into the top right corner, giving the Lions a lead they would not relinquish.
Emmanuel tried to mount a late comeback, cutting the deficit to two with just under 20 minutes remaining. But with a potential playoff berth on the line, Suvak dropped Foehl, who was playing in the midfield, into a defensive role.
“I wanted to make a change where we were clearing the ball. It appeared to me that they were becoming more and more dangerous at the end of the game. Meghan is one of my stronger players, so I wanted to drop her back and solve some of the defensive issues, and she helped us close out the match,” Suvak said.
As the Lions have been fighting for a playoff spot, it has been Trobaugh’s offense that has led Emerson. In the Lion’s last three games, Trobaugh had seven goals, and Monday’s hat trick marked her second three-goal game in the team’s last two contests.
“It’s all mental with me. It is — I just can’t think too much and then I’ll play well,” Trobaugh said.
The senior leads the team with nine goals, and has given Emerson a pretty basic formula for success — in games Trobaugh has scored, the team has gone 4-1 — in games when she has been held scoreless, the team is 2-5-1.
On Monday though, it was all about fighting for conference survival.
“This game was an opportunity to put a team in our area behind us,” Suvak said.
For the Lions’ two seniors, Trobaugh and Foehl, every game marks an opportunity to extend their season, or to hang up the cleats come next Saturday when the team plays its final regular season game.
“We knew how important this game was, especially for Carmen and Meg, our two big-time seniors,” said sophomore Amber Bigwood, who assisted on one of Trobaugh’s goals. “Today meant either we get another game into the season, or our season ends Oct. 22.”
emSporer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ev_sporer. /em