The Case Western Reserve University women's soccer team capitalized on a pair of first half goals in its home-opening game of the 2017 season, winning 2-0 over the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday night.
The Spartans improved to 2-0-0 on the season behind the first goals of the season for senior Neha Cheemalavagu and junior Melanie Kukura, both coming in the first half. Meanwhile, the CWRU defense notched its first shutout of the season to drop the Panthers to 0-2-0 for the campaign.
Cheemalavagu tallied the opening strike of the game, giving Case Western Reserve a 1-0 lead on a shot from the middle of the field and 20-yard out. Kukura set up the score with a pass to Cheemelavagu for her second assist in as many games this year.
Ten minutes later, Kukura struck for a goal of her own, taking a pass from junior Toni Alloy and moving to the middle of the field before launching a strike from 20-yards out past the Panther's keeper to extend the score to 2-0. Alloy picked up her first assist of the year on the goal.
The two goals would be all that the CWRU defense would need to secure the victory. The Spartans' backline limited Pitt.-Bradford to five shots, with just four on goal, while sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Unterborn made four saves to record the first shutout of her career and improve to 2-0-0 on the year. CWRU held the Panthers without a shot in the second half, outshooting them 10-0 during the period.
The Spartans attack finished with 15 total shots, including eight on goal. Cheemalavagu tallied a game-high three shots, with Kukura, senior Elle Zadina, freshman Lauren LaPointe, sophomore Jennifer Markley and freshman Ana Petropoulos each finishing with a pair.
The Spartans will wrap-up their brief two-game home stand on Wednesday, September 6, when the team plays host to Penn State – Behrend at 7:30 p.m. at DiSanto Field.