By Alex Pjinowski
The women’s soccer team has faced no shortage of adversity through the course of this season.
For a significant portion of their regular season, the team has dealt with a multitude of injuries, many of them to key players. In one game earlier this month, Lauren Wolfe ’14, the team’s starting goalkeeper, played forward because of a shortage of players.
Adding to this, their schedule is loaded with very difficult teams. The team has also played many close matches ﾗ with the exception of one competition this season, none of their games has been decided by more than two goals.
Nevertheless, Head Coach Kelly Bryan believes her team is on a positive trajectory, and she expects the Ladies to make big strides before the end of the present campaign.
One of the causes for optimism is the stellar performance the team delivered on Saturday when visiting the College of Wooster, which Bryan called “a huge win.” The Ladies beat the Fighting Scots 2-1.
Co-Captain Becca Romaine ’15 scored Kenyon’s first goal of the day late in the first half to pull even with Wooster.
Maggie Smith ’17 broke the tie early in the second half with a goal that ultimately proved to be the deciding factor of the matchup.
Bryan said the Wooster team had not lost a game this season until their streak was finally broken by the Ladies’ heroic efforts.
“It was amazing. It was probably the best goal of my entire life, honestly,” Smith said. “It was one of those goals where it happened, and I didn’t even know what just happened.”
Smith, a forward, has been a welcome addition for the Ladies this year. Although she is just beginning her collegiate career, she has already emerged as a consistent scorer on the team, and has scored four goals for the team this year.
Along with Romaine, who led the team in scoring the past two seasons and leads this year’s team with five goals, Smith has become part of a formidable two-pronged attack up front for Kenyon.
“The first few games, when I was just starting to get playing time, I definitely felt the pressure, and [Bryan] knew it. I was nervous, I wasn’t even playing that well,” Smith said.
She has since taken her coach’s advice to “take it as a compliment” that the team needs her talents on the field, and has since settled into her role as a top scorer.
Unfortunately, the team could not replicate its weekend success on Tuesday afternoon’s home match against Denison University.
At halftime, the Ladies trailed by a score of 2-0. Although they added two scores of their own in the second half, they could not hold off Denison, and their defense gave up three second-half goals.
Katie Blake ’14 and Marie Laube ’16 scored their first goals of the season in the effort against the Big Red.
Despite the team’s struggles and four conference games remaining, Bryan is convinced they will conclude the season on a high note.
“We know we have to accomplish a certain number of wins here in the next several weeks to give ourselves a shot at any postseason play,” Bryan said.
Many players are beginning to return from the injuries that had previously kept them from the field.
“It’s nice to feel like you’re getting back to where people are the most comfortable in their roles on the field,” Bryan said.
Furthermore, the team as a whole is becoming more comfortable playing together and becoming more confident about its collective abilities. All of these circumstances should dovetail nicely into a strong finish.
The Ladies will next play at home against Wittenberg University on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
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