Traveling to Suffield Academy on Saturday, the Bears were ready for their first win on the road. A true fall day in Connecticut—the sun shining but the breeze crisp—the setting was perfect for soccer, and the Bears and the Tigers were ready to play. It was a fan packed game for the opponents, with this weekend being Suffield’s Parents Weekend, so the Bears’ motivation would have to come from within. They were ready for the challenge.
It was clear from the first minutes of play that this would be a close match. The ball made its way back and forth from end to end, with hard play coming from both Berkshire and Sheffield. Although the Bears had control of the ball often in the first half, the Tigers were taking substantially more shots. This was no problem for keeper Lauren Henman ’14. Henman made save after save to keep the score tied at zero, ending the half with nine saves. Also providing strong play in the backfield was defender Anna Heissenbuttel ’13, who has been consistent all year for the Bears. The first half would finish at 0-0.
Despite a good first half, Berkshire knew they would have to push even harder in the second for the win, and that is just what they did. It was a hard played and tough battled second half, and the Bears persistently pushed through the pain and fatigue. Kylie Wilkes ’16 took over as goalie for Berkshire, playing with both determination and poise, and making diving saves. Suffield continued to take shots, and Wilkes continued to stop them.
Realizing that they needed to shoot more as well and following through on that, Berkshire opened themselves up to some much better opportunities in the second half. Ten minutes in, Allie McErlean ’14 took a hard shot, that the Tiger keeper was unable to hold on to, putting the Bears up by one. Five minutes later, McErlean would finish again, tapping in a beautiful ball sent into the box by Taylor Willi ’16. Willi went on to play a great second half as well, battling hard from the Stopper position, and continuously pounding the ball back down into the Berkshire offensive end. Molly Crabtree ’15 controlled the game at center midfield, working with Willi to move the ball down the field and take shots. Also playing tough and strong in the second half were Lexi Merison ’15 at midfield, and Emily Hubbard ’14 and Catherine Xu ’14 at defense.
Just a few minutes after McErlean’s second goal, the Tigers would sneak one into the Berkshire net to put the score at 2-1. But this was to be a day for the Bears. The girls fought even harder to keep the ball out of their defensive end. With just a few minutes left, a Suffield player took a hard high shot from the top of the box that looked as if it would soar right over the head of Wilkes. Instead, Wilkes perfectly punched the ball over the top of the net to rob the Tigers of a second goal. The Bears won 2-1.
Berkshire will face Simon’s Rock home on Wednesday at 4pm.