On The Road with Western Carolina Soccer: 1-1

Western Carolina Soccer just split two road games at 1-1. The Catamounts defeated Gardner-Webb 2-0, and lost to UNCC 0-2.Jack Kerouac once pondered the question “What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?” Kerouac, of course, was referring to the random adventures that took place in a life lived traveling the open road, and the fearlessness in which he approached his obstacles. Perhaps in some way like Kerouac, the WCU Lady Cats have once again hit the road. However, unlike Kerouac, WCU soccer didn’t pick up any drug habits along the way; no, just a win and a loss.The first match of the road trip pitted Western against Gardner-Webb on Sept. 21 2007. Both goals were scored by freshmen in the first half of play. Midfielder Andrea Williams was able to finish bottom right off of a well-placed pass from Heather Dittmer in the 31st minute of the game. Williams was active in the second goal as well, rifling a shot off the goal post for an assist to fellow freshmen Liz Eichler.The Catamounts outshot Gardner-Webb 7-3 in the first half before GW evened the total in the second half to finish 10-10. Goal keeper Caitlin Williams was once again stellar in goal, recording six saves to earn her and the Catamount defense a third shutout on the year. Despite only being halfway through her first season, this shutout puts the young goal keeper fourth all time for career shutouts at WCU.The second game of the road trip was against the UNCC 49ers on Sept. 23. The Catamounts were unable to overcome two first half goals. Charlotte forward Whitney Weinraub scored off a header in the 16th minute, followed by Ashley Rex scoring just before halftime. WCU’s slow start led Coach Tammy DeCesare to shift the lineup around for the second half in hopes of bringing some energy off the bench.”We played some players that haven’t gotten a chance to play,” said Coach DeCesare. “Frankly, those players should have been playing in the first half. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team, and when we went to the bench, they responded unbelievably today.” The second half could be characterized as physical trench warfare in the midfield, soccer style. Neither team could come close to the net in the second half, with only eight shots between the two teams and no goals. Coach DeCesare attributes the defensive intensity shown in this game to the superior conditioning of the Lady Cats. “I think they realize that they are so much more fit than the opponents we play,” she said. “They know that when push comes to shove, and the game wanes on, and fatigue sets in, and fatigue leads to break downs, they know they’ll always be the ones on top.”This road trip has proven beneficial for the catamounts, who continue to prove their ability to fearlessly read opponents and adapt to them. After the weekend, the Catamounts’ overall record stands at 5-4-0 with more conference play coming up. Kerouac would be proud.