Stout defense stands tall for Women’s Soccer

Julia Ewing, Photograph Courtesy of David Morgan

Jake Supran

For the first time in program history, the Ursinus College Women’s soccer team started its season with four consecutive shutouts. This impressive feat was led by junior goalkeeper Sabrina Doherty, and the team has maintained a solid defensive strategy. When there is a shortage of offense, Doherty is a trustworthy teammate between the pipes.

Doherty, the two-time All-Centennial Conference Honorable goalkeeper, has helped guide the team to a 3-1-1 start. Doherty attributes it to “our defense being super composed and the team really focusing on maintaining possession.” Doherty is already on track to break the season shutouts record of seven, as she already has three with 15 games left. For her career, Doherty already has eleven shutouts and needs just six more to beat the record previously held by Ashley Potter (2004- 2007).

Doherty is also currently leading the goals against average career record with an astonishing 0.92 save percentage. Hopefully she can hang onto that one for the remainder of her career.

In front of the goalkeeper, the women’s soccer team is led by captains Cailey Sanchez, Angela Gervasi, and Zoe Tesone. “Our strength is our versatility. Soccer is an injury-prone sport and we constantly have people moving around and stepping up to keep a strong core.”

The Bears started their season 2-0 for the first time since 2015 when they ended their season with a loss in the semi-finals of the Centennial Conference playoffs. Sanchez believes they can reach the playoffs again this year. “In the four years I have been here, I feel this year is our best shot to make a run at the playoffs.”

Each of the women’s soccer teams’ wins have been dominant performances. The team beat Keystone 5-0, Stevenson 1-0, and Penn State Brandywine 3-0. Throughout these three wins, they registered 40, 14 and 27 shots, respectively. However, Sanchez admitted, “We still have a lot of work to do before conference play.”

The back line of the defense is lined with Gracia DiBianco and Isabel Dalesandro on the outside while Zoe Tesone and Kayla O’Malley hold down the inside. With the exception of the freshman Dalesandro, the last line of defense has built up some chemistry since the start of the 2018 season when they started playing together. Captain Angela Gervasi believes “team chemistry is something we pride ourselves on. All 32 players know their roles and execute them.”

In a recent game against Montclair St., they lost on a buzzer-beater in double overtime. The video of the goal was sent in to the NCAA for further review. The Bears are hoping to get a favorable ruling to push their scoreless streak to five games and counting. Tesone believes the team is ready for the next challenge. “We’re past that game already. We don’t dwell on the past; we focus on the next day.” Tesone adds “We take it one day at a time, one game at a time.”

The Bears looked to turn this remarkable start into an unforgettable season by making a run at the Centennial Conference playoffs. Even though they lost this past Saturday 0-1 to McDaniel, the defense held strong, stopping four shots on goal, with Doherty tallying two saves.