Lasell offense too much for women’s soccer

by Beacon Staff • September 15, 2011

strongEmanuel Goldberg, Beacon Correspondent /strong

strongEvan Sporer, Beacon Staff/strong

There is only so much pressure a team can take before it starts to crack.

When Emerson’s women’s soccer team took the field Saturday against rival Lasell, the pressure was just too much.

From start to finish, there was a constant Lasell presence in Emerson’s defensive third.

During the first 10 minutes of the game, no play of any type took place near the Lasers goal.

A persistent Lasell offense bombarded freshman goalkeeper Alexandra Altman, a writing, literature and publishing major, for the full 90 minutes of the match. By halftime, the shot count read 23 shots for the Lasers, zero for Emerson. At the final whistle, the shot count read 38-1 in the Lasell’s favor, and the scoreboard read a lopsided 5-0.

Sophomore Amber Bigwood, a journalism major, was pushed back from her normal midfield position to play central defense due to injuries. She, along with the rest of the Lion’s defense, dealt with the constant Lasell offensive presence.

“We got caught off guard with the enormous amount of shots they took right off the bat,” Bigwood said. “We realized we needed to step up to the pressure the best we could.”

Lasell’s use of the entire pitch, and its constant ball-control in the Lion’s defensive third, forced Emerson’s defense and goalkeeper to stay busy. By playing the ball wide, and using its wing players heavily, the Lasers forced Emerson to chase the ball, tiring the Lions out.

“Our two outside backs did their best to try and shut [Lasell] down,” Bigwood said.

“They got beat up. Outside positions are a lot of running.”

For Lasell, it was just part of the game plan.

“We wanted as much numbers as possible,” Lasell head coach Vito LaFrancesca said, adding that moving the ball out to the wings on offense was “critical.”

Altman recorded six saves on the day, with Lasell taking 11 shots on goal. She was busy from start to finish, constantly clearing her 18 yard box, and leaving her line to challenge through balls.

“We’re trying to get our team in a competitive playing style,” said Emerson head coach David Suvak, who’s team had been outscored 11-0.

With the Lasell offense constantly in control of the ball, Emerson’s defense was simply put under too much pressure.

“Defensively, we had a couple of breakdowns that resulted in goals being scored against us,” Bigwood said. “But we would have been nowhere without [Altman] in the back.”

Still, despite the lopsided loss, Suvak praised Altman’s performance in goal.

“Tremendous game, fantastic saves along the way,” Suvak said. “[I] see some fantastic things from her.”

The loss dropped Emerson to 0-3 on the season. In the team’s first three games, it has yet to score a goal. Just two years ago, during the 2009 season, Emerson women’s soccer team scored the second most goals in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, averaging over  2.5 goals per game.

Then last season, the women’s team averaged 1.8 goals per game overall, showing a decline from the 2009 season.

The fourth time proved to be the charm for Suvak’s team.

When his team took on Pine Manor in its fourth game, it exploded for seven goals in the first half, and broke a scoring drought that lasted 274 minutes and 51 seconds.

Suvak’s team went on to its first victory, defeating Pine Manor 8-1.