GOSHEN, Ind. - "Everyone played with intensity from the start," said first-year head coach Fabio dos Santos after his Maple Leafs won 3-1 over the University of Saint Francis for their first Mid-Central College Conference victory since 2007. "They were tired of being so close, tasting it and then seeing it slip away."
The victory Saturday night was just the second ever for the program over the Cougars (2-14-2 previously), while also snapping a seven-match skid overall this season.
Most importantly, after dropping three of their five MCC contests this season by a single goal, the Maple Leafs entered the win column in conference play. Their last MCC win came on October 5, 2007, 2-0 at Bethel College.
Freshman Sara Watts (Valparaiso, Ind.) got the Leafs on the board in the 29th minute as she found herself the beneficiary of some nice passing. Emily Fretz (Centennial, Colo.) and Brianne Mault (Goshen, Ind.) combined and left Watts there to simply finish into a nearly empty net.
"We have worked so hard on details like passing," dos Santos continued. "Today, they finally all came together."
After taking the 1-0 lead into break, the Leafs added to the advantage less than 10 minutes into the final period. This time Fretz was on the finishing end as she volleyed in a pinpoint cross from the right side by Marissa Weldy (Goshen, Ind.). Six minutes later, Weldy made it 3-0 with a well placed 20-yard strike to the far post.
Watts and Fretz have been trading the team lead in goals back and forth and continue to be locked atop the team scoring charts with six goals each after tonight.
"Mara (Swartzentruber) made a big difference for us in the middle and Bree (Brianne Mault) is a true playmaker coming off the bench," dos Santos said. "Emily (Fretz) was also very good creating havoc on the defense. To be honest, everyone played really well tonight. We still have a ways to go, but the enthusiasm and work ethic is there."
Junior Lynn Weaver (Goshen, Ind.) made nine saves, allowing just an 84th minute strike on a breakaway by Leah Little.
Goshen is now 5-10 (1-5 MCC) and will head to Mount Vernon Nazarene University next Wednesday.