Bulldog soccer won their weekend home series against the Purdue-Northwest Pride on Friday, Oct. 13 and the Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers on Sunday, Oct. 15.
The Bulldogs (5-5-3, 3-4-2 in conference) outscored their opponents 7-1 on the weekend, beating the Pride 5-0 and vanquishing the Rangers 2-1.
Head coach Greg Henson believes the team has been growing through their season’s ups and downs.
“We’re definitely coming along,” Henson said. “We talked about it earlier in the year. We wanna be playing our best soccer when we get to November for playoff time.”
In Friday’s game against Purdue-Northwest (2-8-2, 0-7-1 in conference), the Bulldogs scored five unanswered goals. The five tallies are the most the women have scored all season. Leading the Bulldogs in the matchup was freshman forward Katherine Welch, who scored four goals in the contest.
Welch’s massive performance began ten minutes into the first half, when she scored her first goal of the match.
Fourteen minutes later, she scored her second. The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
The onslaught from Welch continued shortly after the second half began, as her third goal came roughly five minutes into the half and her fourth and final goal came roughly eight minutes later.
With Welch’s natural hat-trick and her fourth goal putting the Bulldogs up 4-0, senior forward Payton Price got in on the scoring action to make it a 5-0 game.
Following a tough 3-0 loss against Saginaw Valley on Friday, Oct. 6, Henson gave the women a weekend off. For Welch, she believed the break helped power them to a win.
“I thought [the break] was really helpful,” Welch said. “It just took our minds off soccer for a second and come back as an even better team, which we did today.”
Price, who scored in the second half, assisted on one of Welch’s goals. Price had fired a shot that went across the box that Welch hammered home.
Welch’s four goals puts her as the leading scorer for the Bulldogs so far, a title that was previously held by Price. The senior from Pontiac had high praise for the freshman Welch.
“She really stepped up for the team today,” Price said. “She’s just a freshman, so she has so much time left here.”
The second game of back-to-back contests have been a struggle for the Bulldogs, as they were winless before Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers (2-5-2, 0-4-1 in conference).
Welch continued her hot streak, scoring her sixth goal of the season and fifth goal on the weekend. The Bulldogs extended their lead in the second half when senior midfielder Brinley Bell scored her first goal of the season.
The Rangers were able to cut the lead in half, but failed to match the score and left the Bulldogs with a 2-1 victory.
Junior goalkeeper Darya Mosallaei was forced to make two saves following the Rangers’ goal. In the game, Mosallaei saved four shots.
“We’re not going to let in many goals for the rest of the season,” Mosallaei said.
Before Henson gave the women a weekend off, the team was struggling. In September and the beginning October, the Bulldogs went 2-5-3. Henson gave insight into what he told his players going into their weekend break.
“Get away from the game. Go find some people that won’t ask you about soccer for a little while,” Henson said. “It’s time to hit the reset button.”
With only five games remaining in the regular season, the Bulldogs will be at home again next weekend to play Davenport Panthers (4-5-3, 1-5-3 in conference) on Friday, Oct. 20 and Grand Valley State Lakers (7-2-3, 5-1-3 in conference) on Sunday, Oct. 22.