In several games this season, Lewis and Clark’s women’s soccer team would jump out to massive leads early, putting the game out of reach before some Trailblazer soccer fans could even take their seats at Tim Rooney Stadium. Friday’s contest at home against the Saluqis of Southwest Tennessee had a much different vibe.
In their last home game, the Trailblazers scored six goals in the opening twenty minutes of play. Their opposition, Heartland, had essentially given up, and the game was little more than a training exercise for Tim Rooney’s Trailblazers. Southwest Tennessee provided much stiffer competition.
When Boitumelo Rabale scored the first goal of the game, and added to her seemingly endless total on the season, I thought this would be another walk in the park for an LC side that’s become more than accustomed to their games following such a pattern. Less than 40 seconds later however, the Saluqis equalised.
Despite allowing another Boitumelo Rabale goal about 6 minutes later, Southwest Tennessee was posing a challenge on the defensive side of the ball that Lewis and Clark has not yet seen this season. The Saluqis stymied the Trailblazer attack, clogging the channels in which standouts like Rabale and Candice Parziani have made names for themselves this season. A Candice Parziani goal off a quick counter attack for Lewis and Clark put them on the positive end of a 3-1 scoreline at halftime, with Southwest Tennessee still very much in the contest.
Even when faced with likely their toughest defensive test of the season so far, the quality of the Trailblazers in attack was too much for the visitors. As the day wore on, the Saluqis showed tired legs, and played a more defensive game, allowing Lewis and Clark more time on the ball to make decisions in the offensive third of the pitch.
Goals from the duo of Rabale and Parziani put the Saluqi threat to bed with about 30 minutes left in the match. Rabale is among the nation’s leaders in goals and assists, assisting on both Candice Parziani strikes on top of her hat trick. The whole of the Trailblazer offense tends to go through Rabale, whether it be her finishing it with a goal, or creating space in midfield with her dazzling footwork.
As the game closed out, the storm clouds moved in. Tim Rooney Stadium was covered by a dark grey sky and heavy wind gusts. Luckily for this reporter on his laptop in the stands, the rain held off until after the contest. A late goal scored by Ella Kiely gave Lewis and Clark their sixth of the day.
Final from Godfrey: Lewis and Clark 6, Southwestern Tennessee 1. The Trailblazer women have a quick turnaround as they travel to Wabash Valley on Saturday, September 21. For more information and a complete schedule, visit LC.edu/athletics.