Ladies’ soccer kicked off their season with tough 2-1 losses to Ohio Northern University (Ada, Ohio) and Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland) and a dominant 4-0 win against Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Ind.).
The first half against ONU (1-0) featured quick offense from both sides, with 10 total shots taken — seven from the Polar Bears and three from the Ladies (1-2; NCAC 0-0). ONU emerged from the flurry of shots with the first goal. In the 15th minute, the Polar Bears found the back of the Kenyon net past first-year keeper Maria Paparella. 15 minutes later, the Polar Bears scored again when a deflected shot crossed the goal line.
Kenyon quickly responded to the 2-0 deficit. Just a minute later, Maggie Smith ’17 placed the ball in the upper left-hand corner of the ONU net. Despite the Ladies’ best efforts, they were unable to overcome a stout ONU defense, which only allowed Kenyon a single shot in the second half.
After the tough loss, the Ladies bounced back in incredible fashion against the Rose-Hulman Engineers (2-1), winning 4-0.
Less than a minute into the game, Gillian Blackwell ’18 slotted the ball past the Engineers keeper, putting away her first goal of the season. After Blackwell, Smith took over the goal scoring, netting a hat trick with one goal in the first half and two in the second.
“We came away with a big win in our second game because we were communicating more consistently and playing the game we wanted to play,” Smith said.
Two days after the decisive win for the Ladies, Kenyon suffered a last-minute loss to the Case Western Spartans (2-0-1). Smith opened the scoring in the first half on a penalty kick; the Spartans found the net twice in the second half, with their winning goal coming in the final minute of the game.
“We have a very tough season this year, so we will have to go into every game mentally focused and physically prepared to battle,” Smith said. “It’s still early in the season, but we are beginning to develop a really strong team dynamic that will hopefully grow throughout the season.”
With three games under the belt, the first-year goalkeeping duo of Paparella and Jillian Countey have fared well in their first collegiate experience. The duo tallied a combined 14 saves while allowing only two goals apiece.
“[Paparella and Countey] had to step into some big shoes and are doing well,” Defender Campbell Fee ’18 said. “They are learning quickly how to establish themselves on the team.”
On the other side of the pitch, Smith has carried the offense. Smith scored five of the Ladies’ six goals this week. When she makes shots like she did against Rose-Hulman, the Ladies are hard to beat. But as the two losses have shown, Smith cannot win every game on her own.
The Ladies aim to improve their 1-2 record with home games against Salisbury University (1-0; Salisbury, Md.) and Carleton College (0-2-1; Northfield, Minn.) next Saturday and Sunday, respectively.