After nine losses in a row, including eight in Atlantic Ten Conference play, the women’s soccer team was victorious Sunday, downing Saint Bonaventure, 1-0, at Ambler Field.
Leading scorer Wendy Halina’s early second half goal was all the Owls needed as they ended their season on a high note. While Halina was credited for scoring the goal, it was sophomore forward Charisma Wright’s speed, crafty footwork and quickness that gave the Owls their first win since late September.
“Charisma took it down the sideline and cut it back to the middle,” Halina said.
“I was right there to put it in.” With the wind playing a large factor, both teams had to change their game plans depending
on which goal they were defending. For the Owls, that came in the first half. With the wind at their backs, the Bonnies (2-15-1 overall, 1-8 in A-10) dominated the half, almost doubling the scoring chances of the Owls. But the Owls held steady and escaped the first 45 minutes in a scoreless tie.
“I wanted to play more direct in the first half,” coach David Jones said. “Because of the wind, you’re going to end up making multiple mistakes. We were fortunate not to give up a goal there.”
The second half was a different story, as the Owls came out firing offensively and limiting the Bonnies’ possessions defensively.
Even after their goal, the Owls continued attacking the Bonnie defense, but solid goaltending and some unlucky bounces kept the score at 1-0. As the last five minutes approached and St. Bonaventure grew desperate, the Owls turned up the defense and turned away any hope of overtime, ensuring that they would get their first conference win of the year.
“It’s a great feeling,” senior Darlene Beamon said. “We’ve prepped ourselves for this. And with a team effort, we knew what to do.”
Despite finishing just 4-14 overall and 1-8 in the A-10, the exiting seniors aren’t hanging their heads about a rough final year. Rather, they have looked at the positives of being on this team and all the memorable experiences they went through as a group.
“I don’t think our record reflected our accomplishments,” Beamon said. Teammate and fellow Senior Elena Hekimian echoed Beamon’s thoughts.
“There are things no one will know about this team,” she said.
“This will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”
While the players might have gotten more out of this season than simply wins and losses, Jones looked at his team’s record and all the hard work they put in over the past few months, and understood they had little to show for it.
“It’s disappointing,” Jones said. “We came in with high expectations. “We hoped to be .500. But some things happened that were out of our control, and it just didn’t work out.”
With the 2006 season over, the next step is pondering what lies head for the 2007 team, and what they can do to remedy a season that included being shutout seven times.
“We’re right where we need to be,” Jones explained. “We have a lot of returning young players, and it’s not going to be acceptable to them to lose 1-0.”
Todd Orodenker can be reached at email@example.com.