The women’s soccer team’s 1-0 win against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Friday afternoon was a defensive-minded game that centered on control over the ball and disrupting the Highlanders’ offensive attack.
The lone goal by senior forward and team captain Kate Yurkovic wasn’t just the only goal needed to allow the Owls to win, but it also meant that Yurkovic doubled the amount of goals she scored in the entire 2011 season, something that she said makes her and the rest of the team happy about along with the win.
“I think it doesn’t just feel better to me but it feels better as a whole team,” Yurkovic said. “I’m really strong off my restarts and that is what my job is here.”
Yurkovic’s second goal of the season was scored via a header in front of the net. The pass was sent in by senior defenseman Casey Greco, who earned the assist on the play.
“[Coach Matt Gwilliam] always tells us to look for her,“ Greco said. “Honestly, I was just looking for a head at the goal and [Yurkovic] was there.”
Though the team has only played four games this season, the Owls have yet to lose a game when Yurkovic has scored.
In the season opener against Stony Brook, Yurkovic deflected in her own rebound with her head in the 25th minute.
Yurkovic said it’s no surprise that both of her goals have come off headers.
“That is what we work on,” Yurkovic said. “I think I am personally really great in the air. They put me on the back post for a reason, so that is my job and it is just what I have to do.”
In 18 games last season, Yurkovic earned only three total points from one goal and an assist after scoring five goals and four assists in her sophomore year and three goals with two assists in her freshman season.
Yurkovic believes that her struggles in her 2011 junior season were a result from coaching changes that had happened before the season started when Gwilliam, then a first-year coach, brought in Seamus O’ Connor and Kelly Lynch as the team’s assistant coaches.
“I just think we had new people coming in so we were just trying to figure out what is going to work and what is not going to work,” Yurkovic said. “We are a completely different team from last year.”
After a rough 0-2-1 start, Yurkovic hopes that Friday’s win will jumpstart the team.
“I definitely think that winning today is putting us on the right track,” Yurkovic said. “I am just looking forward to going into Sunday with our first win, and hopefully it is all up from here.”
Nicholas William Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.