By Stephen Hauser
Corner kicks, free kicks, early goals and road games continue to be kryptonite for the Eastern Kentucky University women’s soccer team. The Colonels are 0-9 in road games dating back to last season and have allowed an early goal in each road game so far this season.
The Colonel’s gave up three goals off of set pieces in their losses to Kansas University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville last weekend.
Capitalizing on set pieces is extremely important and the Colonels have had trouble defending them. The players have acknowledged their struggles and have set a team goal to work hard on defending them better.
Goalies have a unique perspective of set pieces which make them challenging in many ways.
“When you have a wall of players standing in front of you, you don’t know where the ball is going to be,” Senior Goalie Stephanie Lynch said. “You only have time to react once the ball is in play.”
The Colonels fell behind early in the game when the Kansas Jayhawks scored in the 13th minute off a corner kick by Caitlin Noble. The Jayhawks capitalized off another corner kick in the 41st minute with the goal by Caroline Castor.
Whitney Berry blasted the Jayhawks final goal of game from 22 yards away from the net in the 67th minute.
The Colonels once again trailed early against SIU Edwardsville, as they gave up a goal in the sixth minute off of a corner kick. Devon Thomas was unmarked as she headed the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards away.
The Cougars intercepted a goal kick 11 minutes later, in which Chelsey Johnston ripped the ball into the back of the net.
“Falling behind early changes the mentality of the game and it makes it hard moving forward,” Head Coach Lindsay Basalyga said.
The Colonels are extremely optimistic that their current 0-9 road winless streak will snap shortly.
“We have young players and when you combine them with the veterans and potential we have, the streak will snap shortly,” Senior Defender Stephanie Murray said.
The Colonels offense continued to struggle putting balls in the back of the net. They were only able to muster up eight shots, six in the first half and two in the second half.
They did record a season high six shots on goal, but none could find their way inside the net.
Finishing plays strong and putting the ball in the back of the net will be a focus for the Colonels.
“We have some good freshmen who should bring a new aspect to our offensive attack,” Murray said.
Freshmen Brittany Nomady and Tess Akgunduz lead the team with two shots each.
The Colonels play three forwards up top and anyone of them can step up and score.
“We can only do so much as coaches, we can put them in the right spots, but in the end it comes down to the individual to make the play,” Basalyga said.
The Colonel’s host Wright State University, Friday, Sept. 3 at 5:00.