In their fourth BUCs match of the new season the undefeated Blues faced an also unbeaten Exeter side in what was sure to be one of their toughest matches yet. Some nerves were evident from the first whistle as Cambridge conceded an early goal after only 10 seconds of play, and after the Blues’ equaliser was disallowed for a crossover and several shots were met with goalie saves, they quickly found themselves 3-0 down.
After a much-needed timeout was called, Cambridge went back on the pitch a newly spirited team. Katie Lehovsky won the first draw from the restart and transitioned it down into the Cambridge attack, where they passed it round waiting for the right opportunity. A give and go from Amelia Miller to Sophie Tamblyn coming round the crease put the Blues on the scoreboard, and was the start of the Blues finding their momentum in this first half.
Some incredible defensive interceptions notably from Ella Benson and Erica Wallace held out the Exeter attack, and with a free position conversion from Miller, 2 goals from Julie Wise and another goal from Exeter the score was tied at 4-4. After a scrappy draw possession was won by Miller, and a second goal from Tamblyn put the Blues ahead for the first time in the game. Another two goals from Cambridge in quick succession from Julia Crerend and Amelia Miller were answered with a shot and a goal from Exeter, catching our defence off-guard. With only two goals in it and seconds to go before half-time, a goal from Erica Wallace after driving almost the length of the pitch put the score at 8-5 to Cambridge as the whistle blew for the break.
After getting some water and snacks on board, the Blues began the second half with possession from the draw again won by Miller, and after momentarily getting confused about which way we were shooting she transitioned the ball into attack, where a feed found Lara Dillingham who converted with a shot into the top corner. Fitness was tested over the next few minutes as the ball went end to end, with neither team managing to convert despite several opportunities from both sides.
This stalemate was ended with a goal from Exeter to take them within 3 of the light blues. With 15 minutes left in the game Exeter held possession well, with the Blues struggling to move the ball down the pitch successfully after a turnover, however with Exeter unable to convert off this possession the ball finally made it down to Cambridge’s attacking end where a foul inside the fan was punished with a yellow card for the Exeter defender in question. With Cambridge now a man-up they were hungry to capitalise on this and extend their lead, however a couple of good saves from the Exeter goalie denied their efforts, and the yellow card ended without a goal.
Not disheartened by this, Katie Lehovsky took on 4 Exeter players and left them trailing in the dust as she put Cambridge 4 goals ahead. As the clock ran down, unforced errors from both sides proved costly as both teams converted, but goals from Lehovsky, Tamblyn and Crerend for the Blues ensured they maintained their lead until the final whistle, ending the game with a 14-9 victory and their perfect record still intact.