By: B.J. Pheasant, Assisant Soccer Coach
(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) – The ninth-ranked Thomas More College women's soccer team returned home on a scorching late summer day at BB&T Field in Crestview Hills, Kentucky for their third game in five days. The Saints blanked Capital University 3-0 to start the season at 3-0 while the Crusaders fall to 0-2.
"This was a difficult match for us with so many quality games over the weekend, as well, as battling the temperature," said TMC head coach Jeff Cummings. "We needed to have our young players step up and contribute on the field and they did. The mental toughness the team showed the opening weekend really sets the tone for the season."
The Saints put pressure on the Crusaders early with shots by senior Erika LaRosa (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) sandwiched around a pair of TMC corner kicks and a shot by the opponents. Thomas More outshot Capital 14-3 in the game and had a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks.
In the 23rd minute the Bishop Brossart connection showed up as a great pass by junior Cori Ziegler (California, Ky./Bishop Brossart) split the defense leading in first-year Olivia Nienaber (Alexandria, Ky/Bishop Brossart). Neinaber got the ball past the goal keeper, but was then taken down from behind by a Capital defender who was red carded forcing them to play down a player for the remainder of the game. Senior Laura Felix (Burlington, Ky./St. Henry) buried the resulting penalty kick to give the lead to the Saints.
Neinaber was joined up front by senior Josie Perrino (Tracey, Calif./St. Mary's) and they harassed the opposition relentlessly creating chances. In the 33rd minute Perrino poked a ball away from a center defender to Neinaber who calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 Saints lead and her first collegiate goal!
In the second half it was more of the same as the Saints kept the Crusaders pinned in their own territory and created dangerous chances. The chances came continuously as the Saints ran hard in the second half appearing to be unaffected by the heat. Senior Julia Flagge-Echols (Colerain, Ohio/Colerain) had several opportunities just wide or flagged for offsides. First-year Ali Whalen (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland) made a tremendous wide run to get herself open and was just askew with the shot.
Perrino continued her excellent work on the day in the 68th minute by stealing an errant pass in the back and putting the final margin at 3-0. The pressure continued with a targeted free kick delivered by first-year Megan Sheridan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) that sophomore Meg Berberich (Fort Wright, Ky./Notre Dame Academy) got on the end off and sent just wide of the right post in the 73rd minute. One minute later in the 74th junior Rachael Smith (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) sent in a corner kick that senior Taylor Robinson (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) sent just wide left.
Thomas More's defense closed out the day with a shutout and first-year Claire Herzog (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) making her physical presence known. Senior goalkeeper Megan Barton (Florence, Ky. / Villa Madonna) added another shutout to her tally while making three saves.
The Saints have a brief respite until Friday, September 9th at 5:30pm. They will face John Carroll University in Crestview Hills. Live video and stats are available with links found on TMCSaints.com.