– Ashley Williams (Defiance, OH)
The Defiance women’s soccer team won their first game on Saturday, September 12, 2015 against Bethany College of West Virginia with a final score of 2-1. Defiance improves to 1-3 on the season with the victory.
Bethany (1-2) got on the scoreboard first 40 seconds into the match. After the first goal, both teams set a defensive tempo. While occasionally being aggressive on offense, Defiance pushed their opportunities for shots on goal. Eryn Porter, a junior, had one shot on goal and freshman Addy Cooper had two offensive shots on goal. All three of the shots were saved by Bethany’s goalkeeper. Even with the spectacular goalkeeping on Bethany’s end, the Yellow Jackets did not give up defensively or let down offensively. Towards the end of the first half, Porter again nagged shot on goal on a break-away, but was again saved by the goalkeeper. Bethan remained up 1-0 going into the break.
DC came out strong in the second half of action with a goal at the 47 minute mark by returning sophomore Kassie Memmer, assisted by senior Erica Islas. With the score now tied up at 1-1, Defiance remained persistent and continued the half with an aggressive seven shots on goal. One of those shots bagged a goal and was a pivotal moment in the game to put the Yellow Jackets up 2-1. This shot was scored again by Memmer with the assist from Cooper. With an increased focus on defensive play by Defiance, Bethany did not get another chance at a goal. As a result, DC got the victory with a final score of 2-1 at Winsper-Knobel Memorial Field.
Defiance ended the game with 22 shots total with 12 of those being on goal. June Delgreco, senior, was goalkeeper for this contest and had a total of 8 saves.
Following this game there was an interview with head coach Jenny Vincent and a few players from the Defiance women’s team. Vincent offered this when asked what the positives and negatives of the game were.
“It was a total team effort. We did very well at moving the ball forward, our accommodation play was very strong, and we had a lot of dynamic ability going forward. We were introducing some new ideas and formations so that allowed a lot more freedom for our attacking players, and they did well with it. Winning the second half and overcoming the early mistake from us was a test of our character and how hard and badly we wanted it. The biggest positive was it was an entire time effort. Negative was not really starting the game, we were a little asleep from the warmup I’d say. And then some silly fouls from letting the emotion of the game get to us instead of being composed and allowing that aspect to take over.”
Vincent then elaborated on what they need to do to continue to be successful with conference play approaching,
“We have got to keep everyone healthy, and that’s a big thing for us. We are a very small, tight-knit group, but what we got in heart I wouldn’t take 30 kids, I would rather have the kids we have now. And then just learning in moments outside of training and also what we are putting into training, meaning really paying attention to the film and finding those coachable and teachable moments such as watching the game from today and understanding how we balance being patient versus being competitive.”
Vincent’s expectations for the rest of the upcoming season include, continuing the progressions built from last season until now. “We want to build our program and understand what our expectations are for the program. We want to push ourselves on and off the field because we have trust and good chemistry.”
Seniors and captains also had input on the performance. Erica Islas was asked how her previous years playing at Defiance prepared her for her senior season. “Seeing the past seniors and how they were able to be leaders on the team. We know we have to be prepared each game for the other team.”
June Delgreco, a transfer, talked about why she decided to transfer to Defiance, “My coach in high school played here and I’ve always wanted to play and come here. It didn’t all come together at first.”
Jill Crowell, a senior captain, explained what leadership role she provides for her team. “My leadership role is creating a positive and uplifting atmosphere for the team. Trying to make sure that the team is not letting things get into their heads that we cannot control.”
Kassie Memmer, who scored both Defiance goals in the game, emphasized what she has done to better herself from season to season, “There is no offseason. I do individual work and put in extra practices by going to the field by myself. I stay committed to the game. I had times when I was out due to injuries and it was the little things. Not letting those injuries stop me from getting touches on the ball.”
The team is looking to take the momentum from this win onto the rest of season and continue to have success, especially in HCAC play. The Defiance women’s soccer team have two more weeks of non-conference games before they get into HCAC play starting October 3 at Rose-Hulman (Ind.) at 1:00 p.m.