Women’s soccer blasts to 2-0 start at home


Courtesy of Tim Phills / CWRU Athletics

Scoring her first goal of the season, fourth-year Helina VanBibber (pictured) secured CWRU a 2-0 advantage in their game against Otterbein University.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

Without missing a beat following their legendary season last year, the Case Western Reserve University women’s soccer team picked up where they left off with two wins to begin their fall 2022 campaign. The team defeated Capital University 4-2 in their season opener on Sept. 1 and Otterbein University 4-0 on Sept. 3. 

As more than 200 fans cheered from the stands, CWRU opened the match putting immense pressure on Capital’s defense and attempting five shots within the first 10 minutes. The nerves were clearly there as both teams struggled to find any kind of rhythm on either side. The Spartans concluded the half with three corner kicks, but strong defense from Capital prevented CWRU from gaining an advantage.

The second half is where it all went down. At 54:25, Capital scored from 30 yards out to take the 1-0 lead. The pressure was on for the Spartans, but they were ready.

Less than five minutes later, graduate student forward Samantha Cramin sent a quick pass to graduate student forward Camryn Hartman on the break. Hartman crossed her defender and flicked in the goal to tie the score 1-1. The crowd, which was waiting to explode throughout the first half, let out a thunderous roar as the Spartans crawled back into the game.

Capital was unfazed by this response and scored a goal from the top of the box four minutes later, taking the 2-1 advantage.

In a déjà vu moment, CWRU answered right back. Second-year forward Carolyn Koutures deflected fourth-year midfielder Lexi Gomez’s corner kick towards the top of the box. Fourth-year forward Merry Meyer collected the ball and sent a strike to the back of the net to tie it 2-2.

From this point, the Spartans controlled the game from both sides of the field. The stifling defense allowed only one more goal attempted while the offense continued to roll.

In the 71st minute, Capital stopped a cross-shot but lost the ball, allowing Cramin to quickly tap it in to make it 3-2.

At 73:16, fourth-year forward Aniya Hartzler scored the Spartan’s final goal off an assist from Cramin to put up the final score 4-2.

CWRU outshot Capital 26-9 and third-year goalkeeper Maggie Storti saved three shots to earn her first win of the season and the 17th of her career.

 On a drizzling Saturday afternoon, CWRU took their second win of the season against Otterbein. Contrary to the first game, the Spartans offense found immediate success.

In the 10th minute, third-year forward Kati Davis received a pass from first-year midfielder Ceci Dapino. Davis fired a low shot into the net to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Four minutes later, fourth-year midfielder Helina VanBibber sprinted after a pass from Dapino and netted the goal from the top of the box to double CWRU’s lead.

CWRU limited Otterbein to just two shot attempts in the first half, with Storti saving both. The Spartans meanwhile attempted eight to go along with two corner kicks.

For the second half, the Spartans attempted another eight shots before netting their third goal. Hartman stole the ball from an Otterbein defender at the edge of the box, dribbled towards the goal and slipped it in low for the 3-0 stranglehold.

Once again, Hartzler put the cherry on top of the offense clinic. In the 85th minute, Hartzler received a corner kick and took a curving shot that deflected off a defender into the goal.

In the 4-0 win, CWRU yet again outshot their opponents 21-8 with nine shots on goal. Storti recorded her 11th shutout of her career after saving four shots.

Head Coach Abby Richter, who recently transitioned into this role, lauded the team prior to the season for their commitment through the many changes that come with a new coach.

“The team has adapted quickly to our style of play,” Coach Richter said in an interview with the CWRU Athletic Department. “They’ve been open and accepting to the new coaching staff and our program philosophy. I’m very impressed with how they’ve embraced the changes.”

When asked about the makeup of the team, Coach Richter said, “I think there’s going to be a mix of experienced players and first-year players that are going to find time in the midfield. They all have different attributes, so we’ll see how they play together and complement each other. It’s about finding that balance.”

Moving forward, Coach Richter also pointed to the veteran presence of the team and added, “We have a strong group of leaders. The captains have really stepped up and made sure the first-years and new players feel comfortable and welcomed.”

The 12th-ranked Spartans will hit the road for the next two games. The team will battle against Baldwin Wallace University on Sept. 9 and Kenyon College on Sept. 14.