Tayllar Righini and Riana Odin have a few things in common. They are both freshmen on the Emerson women’s soccer team, they played out of position, and they each scored a goal to give Emerson a thrilling 2-1 overtime win against Norwich University on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions, 7-3-3, had not netted a goal in over 260 minutes when Odin took advantage of a loose ball in the box to score a goal in the 67th minute that gave the Lions a 1-0 lead. Odin’s new position was key to the win.
“I play defense, but I got moved up this game to left midfield,” said Odin, a communication studies major. “I wanted to go up there and get a goal and be part of the offense this game.”
Righini had her regular responsibilities changed as well, which led to the game-winning goal.
“Usually I am center midfield, but today I played a lot of forward,” Righini said. “I like being up top and I like scoring goals.”
The game-ending goal came just over five minutes into Emerson’s fifth overtime of the season. The ball was crossed into the box and took a deflection right to Righini.
“It dropped to my foot, and I just kind of poked it in,” Righini said. “We worked so hard and we had possession for most of the game, so I am really glad that we got that, especially in overtime, because we are tired of playing overtime.”
Molly Coyne, a freshman journalism major, said a tactical change at halftime led to the team’s success.
“We started out with a different formation in the second half, and I think that really helped us because it led to our first goal,” Coyne said.
The soccer team will use these changes to take advantage of the numerous scoring chances it has been creating, but failing to put away.
“We always have a lot of opportunities,” Coyne said. “We have the passion, we have the heart. We just need to get it in the back of the net sooner.”
The Lions have had a transition season because of 12 freshmen that were added to the squad this year, but team captain Casey Jablonski said the players have come together.
“I think we have come a long way since the beginning of the year and we are really starting to gel more as a team,” said Jablonski, a junior visual media arts major. “I have high hopes for us in the playoffs.”
The team has now ensured its qualification for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs with a conference record of 5-2-3. The Lions, scheduled to face Anna Maria College on Oct. 19 for the final conference game of the season, are looking forward to a deep run in the playoffs.
“If we keep playing the way we do with the amount of passion that we have,” Coyne said, “I think we can win it all.”