“We played as a team — truly, as a team — for the first time.”
That was how Kelly Bryan, head coach of Ladies soccer, characterized the first of two games her team played this past weekend. The Ladies flew to Georgia, where they played Mount Berry College (Berry, Ga.) and Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Ga.).
Facing Berry on Saturday, the Ladies were shut out 1-0. They reversed their fortunes the next day against Agnes Scott, earning a 2-0 victory with help from goals by two seniors, Katie Hoener ’15 and Co-Captain Becca Romaine ’15. Hoener’s goal was her first of the season, and Romaine’s brought her into a tie for fourth place on Kenyon’s all-time leaderboard. Goalkeeper Alissa Poolpol ’16 was credited with a save and her first shutout of the season.
Long-distance trips can be a wearying event for an athletic team — they often require athletes to miss class and make up schoolwork, and the long hours spent traveling are rarely restful. However, the team widely hailed the trip to Georgia as a unifying experience.
“We flew there as a team, which made us feel very special,” Co-Captain Maggie Smith ’17 said. “It was just a blast, and it was a great bonding experience.”
Co-Captain Marie Laube ’16 went so far as to call the trip “a turning point in the season.”
The Ladies’ offensive game this season has been characterized by an impressive diversity of attack, which was on display this weekend. Bryan mentioned that in the past four games, four different players — Romaine, Hoener, Virginia Fergusson ’18 and Camila Kirtzman ’18 — have scored goals.
“Becca in particular, but also Maggie, are doing a really great job of seeing the field and distributing the ball, and finding open players,” Hoener said.
Effective communication among defenders, and between the defense and offense, is one of the team’s keys to success. Laube, leader of the team’s defensive unit, said, “I’ve seen a lot of improvement just this past weekend in Georgia with how we all meshed together with the four in the back line, as well as the four in the midfield and the two up top.”
Romaine praised Laube’s leadership and the dedication of the individual players in the back line. “I’m seeing the defensive line really come together,” she said. “They are really connecting. … I saw a fierceness in them.”
Even as the group grows more comfortable together, developing consistency will be crucial for the team to reach its fullest potential. Although the team won resoundingly against Agnes Scott, this victory was preceded by a three-game losing streak. Smith admitted that the team did not play as well as it might have in the first two games of that slump.
“We’re taking the shots, but we’re not putting them away,” Smith said. “It’s either a step too slow or a step too fast; a lot of times, we’re not reading the goalie correctly. I think that just comes with practice and timing.”
The team will next face Defiance College (Defiance, Ohio) at home tonight, and will travel to Hanover, Ind. to play Hanover College on Saturday.