The women’s soccer team ended the weekend with a 7-0 shutout against Chicago State University after a 1-point loss in overtime to the University of Illinois at Chicago. Head Coach Derek Burton said the weekend ended favorably.
“It would have been nice to come out on the winning end of both of them, but we got the win today, so it ended well; it ended on a positive [note],” Burton said.
The Cougars maintained a scoreless game for over 90 minutes Friday, Sept. 4, but allowed one goal during overtime play. Burton said the team set up a lot of goals but did not score.
“What got us to that position — first of all, to even get into overtime — was the fact that we didn’t finish the chances that we created. We created a lot of quality chances in front of the net that we just didn’t capitalize on, and in the end, it just came back to haunt us,” Burton said. “If you let a team hang around — especially on their field — they gain confidence, and they took advantage [of] good opportunities they got and won the game in overtime.”
Burton said the game showed some progress for the team that culminated in its shutout against Chicago State Sunday, Sept. 6.
“We continue to make progress in the way that we’re creating chances and the amount of times we’re creating chances in front of the goal, which is what we’d been lacking in the first couple games. Now we’re creating chances. Friday we didn’t finish them, today we did,” Burton said.
The first two goals of the game against Chicago State were scored in the first few minutes of the game, giving the Cougars a competitive edge that carried them through the rest of the game, continuing to score.
“We made our goal to start the game fast and put our imprint on the game from the very beginning. We scored two goals in under two minutes and our confidence grew. We hadn’t been scoring up to that point,” Burton said. “I knew once we got a goal under our belts that we’d start to grow from that — have our confidence grow — and it did.”
Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Pelley recorded her 24th career shutout with only one save throughout the game. Burton said this was due to a whole team effort and an aggressive offense.
“I think if you can keep the ball from the other team, obviously, they can’t score. You can call it good defense, which we did play; we had some good defensive moments all around the field today, but the fact is that if you have the ball, the other team doesn’t. Good offense usually leads to a good defensive showing,” Burton said.
According to Burton, senior forward Katye Skrivan and sophomore offensive player Emily Grahl both had great performances in Sunday’s game and created opportunities for both themselves and other players.
“[Skrivan and Grahl] really stood out today, and that’s a great time because we need them to be standout players for us moving forward. I think today will give them both some confidence moving forward. They were both creating goals for others and scoring themselves, and that’s great to see and great for us,” Burton said.
Burton said the shutout creates a great atmosphere leading into the Cougars’ first home game of the season.
“It’s great, right? You end the weekend with a really good performance where you score some goals, and that leads into playing a cross-town rival at home for our home opener,” Burton said. “That’s exciting in and of itself, and I think we’ve found the way to get the ball in the back of the net. That gave us some confidence. We’re looking forward to a good week of training and getting going at home at Korte Friday.”
The Cougars face St. Louis University at Korte Stadium Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.