No. 3 Trinity women edge Centre 2-1

September 28, 2003|JILL ERWIN

The only thing that could have made Gina Nicoletti happier was a victory.

The Centre College women's soccer coach watched her team execute the game plan to perfection Friday against No. 3 Trinity, and almost saw the Colonels escape with at least a tie before a goal with one minute, 39 seconds remaining lifted the Tigers to a 2-1 win.

However, Nicoletti said she was thrilled with how her team performed against one of the best teams in the country.

"They did exactly what we told them to do," Nicoletti said. "It's the exact game we thought it would be, just not the outcome we wanted.

"We knew we would be playing defense a lot. We just had a miscommunication on the first goal, and the second goal was a rebound. I couldn't have asked for any more."


Centre's game plan was to keep its defense back and keep the Tigers from penetrating to the goal as they like to do. The Colonels did that well, forcing Trinity to shoot from further and further away from the goal as the game went on.

"I called around and got a bunch of scoring reports," Nicoletti said. "Defense was obviously our strength and we played low-pressure. We dropped our midfield back and always had numbers behind the ball and kept our shape."

Trinity got out on top early off a corner kick when Alexia Donahue scored with just over 10 minutes gone in the game. But Centre regrouped and got some stellar play in goal from senior Jessica Chisley.

The Tigers had several shots in the second half sail just over the crossbar and had two hit the crossbar, but Chisley also had 11 saves in the game.

"They're so used to penetrating on teams and we weren't allowing them to do that," Nicoletti said. "They started taking shots from the outside, and I'd rather they do that. We were waiting for that to happen, and Jessica Chisley can handle those shots. Chisley had them covered."

In the second half, Centre's offense got on track. Chisley made a save on a shot, then threw the ball wide down the left side to freshman forward Kim Lacy. Lacy dribbled through the Trinity defense, found space and put the ball past goalkeeper Stephanie Bull to tie the game with 20:19 to play.

"We told Kim it was going to be three flat in the back and we were looking for a counter (attack)," Nicoletti said. "She was totally composed. That's a very big goal for a freshman, for the first time she sees Trinity, to be that composed and put that away."

Trinity continued to fire shots at Chisley, and Centre almost gave up an own goal. With 14:47 to play, Trinity had a free kick that Centre's Katie McGinty tried to clear off her head. However, the ball floated toward the Centre goal and landed on top of the netting.

Trinity got the goal it needed with 1:39 to play. Donahue worked her way through the Centre defense and Chisley came out to challenge her. However, Donahue shot the ball and it went into the net for the game-winner.

"We were probably more physical than we have been in the past because we knew it was coming," Nicoletti said. "We wanted to make our presence known from the start."

Nicoletti said it was too difficult to single out all the players that played well, but credited Chisley and junior defender Laura Heil for their play.

"Laura Heil directed that defense exactly like we wanted it directed," Nicoletti said. "Ultimately everybody on the field impressed me. Everybody did what they needed to do."

The Colonels play Southwestern today at 11 a.m., and Nicoletti said it's important for Centre to bounce back and prove Friday wasn't a fluke.

"The last thing we told them before they left was that championship teams come back from a game like this, win, lose or draw, and take care of the games they're supposed to take care of," Nicoletti said.

Jill Erwin can be reached at

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