By Danielle Achin
With the spotlights on and the bleachers 9lled with fans, the Rams Women’s Soccer team took to their home 9eld on Maple Street against Salem State where they secured their spot in the Semifinals Nov. 2.
The combination of the excitement for the 9rst game of the MASCAC tournament, combined with the frigid temperature, made the Rams’ game against Salem State a classic.
Even better? The Rams won 1-0 in a double overtime shootout thriller.
In the first half, there was a lot of back-and-forth play. Defense on both teams was strong, keeping the ball out of each side’s danger zone.
The Rams held strong against the Vikings, sending strikes towards the goal. But Salem held strong against them, deflecting their shots each time and sending both teams into the second half with a 0-0 score.
Freshman Jetta Oskirko said despite her teammates 9ghting against the cold returning to the field after halftime, this did not take away their focus on the game and they came back just as fired up.
Oskirko said, “We broke down a little bit for two or three minutes. But after that, we gained our confidence back.
“We played as a team, which is something we’ve struggled with. We went out there and played with heart, which is something we were lacking at the beginning of the season, but we really wanted it today. We played great,” she said.
After a lot more back-and-forth play in the fnal minute, Salem made a last attempt to score, and sophomore Kaley Moran sent a long strike toward goal that was saved by Oskirko, sending the game to overtime.
The back-and-forth plays continued into overtime where Oskirko made two saves in the match for the Rams, keeping the score 0-0 and sending the game into double overtime.
This time, the Rams were on the attack and made a last attempt for a goal in the last few minutes of the game. The strikes they sent toward the net were both saved by Vikings’ Pfefferle.
With the score remaining 0-0, this meant both teams moved to a penalty kick shoot-out competition, where the game’s winner would be determined by scoring the most out of 9ve goals.
The Vikings converted their chance for Salem State, but were denied because of Oskiriko’s strong goaltending.
Graduate Jasmine Lees, sophomore Calen Frongillo, as well as freshmen Cathryn Cooney and Aurora Kilrain all converted their chances for FSU, 9nishing the shootout in a 4-2 set, and taking the victory for the Rams.
Oskiriko said it was more than just the hunger for winning that helped her teammates come out on top.
She said, “It’s just heart, it doesn’t even have to do with soccer – we just love each other. We’re family and it’s amazing. This team wants to go far.”
Head Coach Kristina Kern continues her eighth season in the MASCAC Semifinals, and said she is proud of her team for making it through the game, facing off in the penalty kicks.
“Our team unity and chemistry is our biggest strength,” Kern said. “They all played for each other today and it’s really great to see that as a coach.”
Kern said, moving forward, staying connected and on the same page as one another is vital for the Rams’ advancement in the MASCAC tournament.
Oskiriko said the team’s main goal for the week is to focus on the next game and not think too far ahead to remain level headed.
“We take it day by day. We always focus on the next game, nothing more than that. We play Westfield on Friday, so that’s what we’re focused on,” she said.
The Rams face top-seeded West9eld State on the Owl’s home 9eld for the MASCAC Semifinal match at 7 p.m. Nov. 5.