In the first minutes of the second half, defender Riana Odin opened with a goal and secured Emerson’s 2-1 victory in women’s soccer over Suffolk University. Defense was the name of the game as the Lions scored early in each half, leaving the remaining time to fight off the Rams’ offense.
Odin not only helped keep Suffolk away from the goal, but she also scored for the first time in her college career.
“Personally, I was upset with myself at halftime. I didn’t like my first half,” she said. Odin spoke with her coach for a pep talk, wherein he told her to “just shoot it.” She voiced her biggest concern — shooting a missed goal due to distance and haste.
“But he said, ‘Listen, just put it on the frame. I have confidence in you; I’m telling you to do it.’ And my first shot on frame I scored.”
The rivalry between Emerson and Suffolk was evident throughout the game as the Rams continually knocked over the Lions, totaling four fouls against Suffolk. As the first conference game of the season for both teams, the extra pressure added to the importance of defense and the Lions’ ability to force Suffolk away from goalkeeper Allie Altman who tallied three saves.
In the final minutes of the game, the Lions’ ball-handling kept Suffolk players at bay. Emerson control slowed down the game, denying the Rams any chance to even the score.
“We definitely can calm down and control the ball when we need to, which, at the end of a game, is always an asset,” Odin said. “When we play like that, no one can touch us.”
Head coach David Suvak said to encourage his players to maintain the lead, they needed to keep up energy and to score early.
“We talk about the first five minutes and the last five minutes and how important those minutes are,” Suvak said. “Both teams tend to have a lot of energy either to start the match or to close out a half or close out the game. And I think that this group of players understands and gels very quickly and understands that they can score early.”
The Lions’ defense came out talking as Altman yelled the numbers of approaching Suffolk players to her defenders, and defenders warned the offense about open players on side line throw-ins and corner kicks. Communication was key as the Lions took 18 shots on the Rams’ goal, double what the Rams attempted on the Lions’ defense. However, according to left outside midfielder Mollie Coyne, who scored the first goal of the game, talking between players and the number of attempted shots were aspects to improve.
“We need to communicate a little more and get the ball in the net, because I think we had a lot more chances that we just need to take,” Coyne said. “But other than that, I think we played well.”
Defeating Suffolk marked a conference victory and the Lions’ third consecutive win as they approach Wednesday’s away game against Johnson & Wales.
“I think we were really excited to play Suffolk, especially since they’re our rivals,” Coyne said. “We were a little bit pressured but, for the most part, we were just excited and ready to go out there and win the game.”