Freshmen propel UVM

A game of firsts for the Women’s Soccer team saw the Cats get there first win of the season behind the first goal of the year for sophomore Lexi Kaknes and the first career goal for freshman Jenny Solberg. Vermont used a strong second half along with great goaltending to defeat the Sienna Saints 2-1 on Tuesday Sept. 12. “Our team has been working really, really hard,” coach Kerry Dziczkaniec said. “[We] finally had the opportunity to reward ourselves for our hard work, our intensity and out efforts.” During the first half Vermont controlled most of the play but could not get an open look at the goal. Both teams were only able to muster three shots apiece as the half ended in a 0-0 deadlock. After playing the beginning of the second half even, the Cats began to separate themselves. Solberg and Kaknes were dominating in the midfield and it finally paid off in the 70th minute when senior Cassandra VanLeeuwen found Kaknes streaking up the right side of the field and fed her a ball into space that she blasted in off the far post. This was just the beginning of the barrage that Vermont sent at the Saints goal in the second half when they out shot Sienna 12-3. Just over 10 minutes later the Cats struck again on a goal by Solberg. She collected a pass from fellow freshman Carson Laderoute and blasted it from just outside the 18-yard box off the hands of Sienna goalie Patti Carroll. In just her fourth collegiate game, Solberg is already having a major impact. Along with her goal and three shots she was a force in the middle of the field, winning headers and fighting through defenders. Vermont looked to be in control until the 89th minute when Sienna got on the board thanks to senior Kristen Turner who took a pass from Alyssa Thayer and buried it in the back of the net. Sienna kept threatening in the final moments of the game. They had a chance to tie the score, but as the Saint was about to shoot Catamount sophomore Kaitlin Francis came out of nowhere to distract her and give freshman goalkeeper Eliza Bradley time to get in position. But being in position alone was not enough. Bradley had to dive across the face of the goal to get her fingertips on the shot and deflect it wide and out of bounds. “That was a great save,” Dziczkaniec said. “Most keepers would have just given up and she didn’t and that was the difference.” Sienna had one final chance on a corner kick with less than 30 seconds remaining but Vermont was able to clear the ball and preserve the victory. With the win the Cats improve to 1-2-1 on the season while the Saints drop to 2-3-1. “This gives us great confidence in terms of getting on the road to go down and play the University of Virginia,” Dziczkaniec said.