GREAT BARRINGTON -- In a physical matchup of non-league opponents, Cathedral chipped away at the Monument Mountain defense for a 2-0 win Saturday at Spartan Field.
Heading into the game, Monument coach Jess Platt said she wanted to see improved fitness from her team. The Spartans (0-2) did show improved stamina in what was a back-and-forth game for most of the first half.
The Panthers came out firing on defense, challenging goalkeeper Emily Shaw throughout the game. Shaw ended with 15 saves, with two of them being highlight-reel quality.
Cathedral set up its scoring chances by using crosses and taking several free kicks after drawing whistles from an aggressive Spartan defense.
Panther forward Hannah Potter fired her first shot seven minutes into the game, just missing wide right. Potter and Chrissy Ferriter had several attempts on goal throughout the first half.
However, it was forward Brenna Hoar who took advantage of her scoring chance, breaking free along the right side and scoring with 5:55 left in the half.
Cathedral controlled the ball for a majority of the first half. To start the second half, though, it was the Spartans who dominated the time of possession.
Six minutes in, Monument’s Errica Broderick fired a shot that just bounced off the left post. A minute later, Crista Cardillo just missed converting on a nice cross from a teammate.
With 17 minutes left, Broderick received a through ball in the middle of the field. Her shot was stopped by goalkeeper Olivia Neigwanger.
After the teams went back-and-forth trading possessions. Shaw made two amazing saves to help keep her team in the game.
With 16:15 left, Alexis McCrae of Cathedral dribbled left with the ball. She fired her shot right, and Shaw made a diving one-handed stop, saving a goal.
Less than a minute later, though, Sara Rooke was tripped in the penalty box setting up a penalty kick. Rooke fired top left, but Shaw dove and batted the ball away, saving another goal.
Shaw said it was the work she’s put in with assistant coach Sarah Mead on diving to either side that’s allowed her to play with great instincts.
"I just have to watch and anticipate where [the ball] is going and try my best to save them," Shaw said.
Despite the strong effort from Shaw, Cathedral added another goal with less than two minutes left. McCrae gathered a well placed ball from Hoar and fired the ball into the net, putting her team up 2-0 and sealing the victory.
Despite the loss, Platt was pleased with the improvement her team showed.
"I think our mentality was shifted a little bit from our last game," Platt said. "I think we’re improving in all the right places."
Cathedral 1 1 -- 2
Monument 0 0 -- 0
C -- Brenna Hoar (Unassisted), 34:05.
C -- Alexis McCrae (Hoar), 78:18
Saves -- C: Olivia Neigwanger 3. MM: Emily Shaw 15.