Women's Soccer picks up first shutout; blanks Sage 1-0
For a half, the SUNY Potsdam women's soccer team whisked in their attackers, piled on the pressure and threatened to score on Sage College's bend-but don't break- defensive back line.
Suddenly, the Bears' breakthrough moment came when sophomore midfielder Jess Sterns (Henrietta, N.Y. / Rush-Henrietta) scored on a feed from Kaylen Van Wagner (Red Hook, N.Y. / Hotchkiss) at the 45:40 mark as Potsdam picked up a 1-0 victory at Sage on Saturday afternoon.
It was Stern's first goal since September of last season and Van Wagner's second assist in as many games for Potsdam (2-3). Sterns' goal was from about 14 yards away.
" I'm happy that Jess [Sterns] is getting back to herself after her knee injury", said third-year Potsdam coach Mark Misiak. "We're a pretty high-pressured team. Kaylen made a great pass to split their defense open a little bit and Jess had a great, composed finish into the bottom right hand corner. I'm hoping this will open the flood gates a little bit more for her. Kaylen is a great distributor of the ball and she makes great decisions. I'm encouraged by both their performances so far."
Potsdam maintained control for the lion's share of the match by earning a robust 19-3 shots advantage. Freshman goalkeeper Michaela Cole (Parishville, N.Y. / Parishville-Hopkinton) started her third game and played the first half, but it was Lauren Haase (Williamsville, N.Y. /Williamsville South) who played the second half and earned her first victory in her debut at goal.
Notably, it was the Bears' first shutout of the season. The Gators dropped to 1-3.
"We set the tone in the first few minutes," said coach Misiak. "We were the aggressors from the start and put them a little bit on their heels. This was our first clean sheet this season so it feels good because Sage is a good team and they didn't really have any dangerous shots on goal."
The Potsdam defensive unit was especially stingy with big aid from Kristin Webster (Schenectady, N.Y. / Schalmont), Alex Guidarelli (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. / Walter Panas) and Amanda Peterson (West Chazy, N.Y. / Beekmantown).
"Kristin Webster won every ball in the air and she created a lot of chances for us," said coach Misiak. "Alex made her debut and played the entire game at center back. She and Amanda Peterson are two freshmen backs who performed brilliantly and gave us a veteran like performance. They did a great job of not allowing too many chances for Sage on goal."
Although coach Misiak was pleased with the victory, he cautioned that the team still has room for improvement.
"It's a game of goals and goals change games," he said. "When its' 1-0, its one mistake to make the game change all over again so we've got to learn how to close out games better."
Potsdam returns home to host Utica College Sunday at 1 p.m. at Maxcy Turf Field.