Women’s Soccer | Photo by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State University
The Wright State University women’s soccer team hosted the Titans of Detroit Mercy on Thursday for its annual Pink Out game at Alumni Field.
Coming into the game
The game served as a platform for the club to promote breast cancer awareness. Zeta Tau Alpha, a sorority on campus, conducted a 50-50 raffle to raise funds to promote cancer awareness education.
Both teams came into play desperately seeking to move up in the standings. WSU had a two-way tie with Robert Morris for third place, while the Titans sat in fifth place.
The Raiders entered Thursday’s showdown with a record of 5-5-3 overall, going 3-2-1 in Horizon League play. Entering Thursday’s showdown, WSU held the all-time record against the Titans, going 16-14-5 through 35 meetings.
High stakes and controlling the first half
In the first half of play, the Raiders excelled in controlling possession and creating offensive opportunities. Additionally, WSU was able to keep the ball on Detroit Mercy’s half of the field, only allowing the Titans to produce one shot in the first 45 minutes.
Despite putting five shots up in the first half, the Raiders entered halftime tied 0-0.
It was during halftime that WSU realized what was at stake in Thursday’s match. With a win, the Raiders would earn three points and slide into second place behind Milwaukee.
A tight second half
Immediately following halftime, WSU put together a methodical attack on the Titans that eventually found Kaylin Helinski scoring her third goal, as she came in from the right side and buried a shot in the top left corner of the net.
“When I was dribbling and driving forward, I saw that their defense dropped back, and I saw Marcella [Sizer] back post, and I was actually looking to chip it in to her,” Helinski mentioned.
The shot from Helinski was the lone shot WSU produced in the second half. After the goal, Detroit Mercy gained confidence and started producing shots late in the game.
One area where the Titans thrived was creating opportunities with corner kicks. Detroit Mercy tallied a total of eight set pieces, while the Raiders failed to find one.
“We have been practicing defense this entire season; I think we have done a really good job at keeping the ball out and doing good,” WSU’s Tamara Smith said.
Kiera Sarka helped propel the Raiders to victory, as she recorded eight saves on the night en route to her fifth shutout on the season. Of those eight saves, seven came in the second half of the match with five in the final 30 minutes.
“I just try to stay confident, know that I can cover that ground and know that my team in front of me will get there if I can’t,” Sarka stated after the win.
The match got very physical late in the second half, as five cards were assessed among the two squads. Helinski acquired the lone yellow card on the match for the Raiders, marking her fifth on the season and leaving her ineligible for WSU’s next match. UDM found the other four cards—one being a red card—with just a couple minutes remaining.
Where the Raiders stand now
Following the 1-0 victory, WSU moved on to 6-5-3 on the season and 4-2-1 in HL play. WSU now sits in second place behind Milwaukee with only three matches remaining before the conference tournament begins.
The Raiders closed their week out by drawing a 1-1 tie with Purdue Fort Wayne after Olivia Mace scored her first goal of the season off of a corner kick in the first half.
The Raiders will return to action on Saturday at Cleveland State at 7 p.m. before returning home for the regular season finale against Northern Kentucky on Oct. 25.