The Stetson women's soccer team (1-2-0) earned its first victory of the season thanks to the head of junior Alyssa Welsh. The forward scored both of the Hatters' goals on headers, including the golden goal game-winner in Saturday night's 2-1 overtime victory over Embry-Riddle (1-1-0).
"We make jokes because I used to not be able to head the ball, so getting two header [goals] is like the best day of my life," Welsh said after the game.
The five-foot-eight junior certainly used her height and newfound heading ability on Saturday, propelling Stetson to the victory against the Eagles with a pair of scores. Welsh was getting a number of chances in the contest, but she wasn't able to put the Hatters on the board until the 62nd minute when she headed the ball over Embry-Riddle's goalkeeper to give Stetson a 1-0 lead.
Welsh finished with five total shots, but her only two on goal were the ones that counted, as they both found the back of the net. Her first score came off of an assist by junior Alexis Trybinski. The transfer chased a ball deep into the left corner, using her speed to beat the Eagle defenders. The forward played a long cross into the box that found Welsh's head and eventually the goal.
The Hatters continued to press in the second half, outshooting the Eagles 9-4 in the period, and 18-13 for the game, but it was Embry-Riddle that connected next. Junior Valerie Orbita made a great individual effort to beat two Stetson defenders and found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 in the 77th minute of play.
After the final horn of regulation sent the two squads into extra time, Stetson went on the offensive quickly, totaling three shots in just under four minutes of overtime action. Soon sophomore Colleen O'Kennedy ran onto a ball deep in the right corner of the field. She served up a perfect ball into the box, Welsh ran onto, and put the game away with yet another header goal.
"Lex [Trybinski] has amazing speed," Welsh said of her new teammate after the game. "She's a great addition to the team. I try to find her anytime I can because I know she's going to beat anybody to the ball. And Colleen has amazing skill; can place the ball right on my head."
The Hatters totaled six corner kicks in the victory, all coming in the second half and overtime, while the Eagles only managed two first half corners. Stetson's Victoria Troccoli made four saves in goal to pick up her first win in net for the Hatters. Embry-Riddle's Lauren Gallant finished with seven stops in the defeat.
"It's a great win," Head Coach Julie Orlowski said. "We've played better every game. It's the first time we put a whole 100 minutes together, but from start to finish we played with a great deal of intensity."
Stetson will next play in the Trojan Classic at Troy University. The Hatters will take on Jacksonville State on Friday, August 31 at 1:00 p.m. and then play the host Trojans on Sunday, September 2 at 1:00 p.m.
Julie Orlowski Interview
Alyssa Welsh Interview
Mara Keomanivane Interview