September 19, 2013
The Hamilton women’s soccer team has hopes of being a legitimate NESCAC competitor, but the first few wekks have presented the Conts with some challenges. At 2-1-0, they have manged to keep a winning record thus far. There have been some troubling indicators beneath that mark though, including a 0-2 loss against Trinity on Sept. 7, a team that missed the NESCAC playoffs in 2012. However, their 4-2 win against SUNY Oswego started the season off on the right note.
Of course, perhaps some early-season speed bumps were expected, given that Alex Rimmer ’13 scored nearly a third of the team’s goals last year. The Continentals’ most recent win, a 1-0 home victory over Bates, was the all-around effort that is the exact kind of jumpstart the team needs to propel itself up the conference standings.
“There’s certainly been an adjustment up front,” admitted Head Coach Colette Gilligan. “We’re not necessarily relying on the forward spot for all our offensive production. We play five midfielders, and those players have proven to be an integral part of the scoring so far this year.”
Indeed, the lone goal last Saturday came from midfielder Victoria Freeman ’16—her second of the season. Freeman scored three goals in 2012, so it’s not as if finding the back of the net is an unfamiliar practice. However, Freeman revealed that she and the other midfielders do feel a little more pressure to produce successful plays.
“As a team, we knew losing Alex [Rimmer] would be tough, but collectively everyone has continued to step up their game,” she said. “So far we’ve been able to find the back of the net. As an upperclassman, I definitely feel like I have more responsibility on the field, but with my teammates working so hard around me, we have been able to create a lot of scoring opportunities, and capitalize on them.”
Fortunately for the team, they have not yet encountered any of the NESCAC powerhouses. That will start to change soon, as following a pair of games against Wesleyan and Connecticut College, the Conts will face a three-game stretch against Amherst, Bowdoin, and Middlebury, all of whom finished ahead of Hamilton in the NESCAC standings last year.
Coach Gilligan thinks the team is coming around but knows they will have to continue gelling as a cohesive unit to beat those teams. “I think we’ve definitely improved the last couple weeks,” she said. “We’re mostly making tactical adjustments from game-to-game. It’s a process, but I think we’ll be ready for when we face those teams.”
It has been an ensemble effort thus far, as six players have recorded a point through three official games (the Conts were leading 7-0 against SUNY Canton, but the game was postponed in the 53rd minute due to lightning and must be re-played). For reference, only Williams and Trinity have more players with a point among NESCAC teams so far. That kind of offensive balance was exactly what the team envisioned at the start of the season.
If the all-around production continues through the upcoming games, Hamilton might find itself meeting preseason expectations after all.