While the rest of campus took a sigh of relief for the start of the weekend, the John Carroll University women’s soccer team headed to Don Shula Stadium on Friday, Sept. 23 with more work to do.
Friday was the start of Ohio Athletic Conference play for the team. In a season where they had started 4-4 but were coming off a two-game losing streak, the Blue Streaks needed a win over Marietta College to avoid having a losing record on the season. Despite the two-game losing streak, no one would have known about the streak had they watched the way JCU performed against Marietta.
JCU came out firing on all cylinders in the first half of action, taking full advantage of the Pioneer’s struggling defense. Sophomore Kayla Acklin began the scoring frenzy for the Blue Streaks in just the 17th minute of play with a goal assisted by freshman midfielder Kelly Kertis. Just nine minutes later, freshman Kaylin Akerly scored a goal off another assist from Kertis to spot the Blue Streaks with an early 2-0 lead.
That was only the beginning of the scoring frenzy.
As the first half continued, sophomore Genny Goergen scored her first goal of the season as she sniped the top left corner of the opposing net to give the Blue Streaks a comfortable 3-0 cushion. Goergen’s goal may have been the opening of the flood gates, as senior Rachel Grdina added insult to injury just before halftime with a goal of her own, making the score at halftime 4-0 in favor of JCU. The Blue Streaks showed just how dominant their offense can be by dominating Marietta in the first half, leading 4-0 and out shooting Marietta 14-0.
Coming out in the second half, the Blue Streaks kept up their intensity. Junior Amanda Buxton scored her first goal of the year just three and a half minutes into the second half of action, giving the Blue Streaks a whopping 5-0 lead.
From then on, it was up to the John Carroll defense to hold onto the huge lead they had built over the Pioneers.
They did just that, and to put the exclamation point on the game, junior Ashley Huebler capped John Carroll’s scoring with her first career goal in the 77th minute of play, making the score of the game 6-0.
Marietta’s Cara Nuss gave the Pioneer’s something to build off of in the 84th minute when she scored on a breakaway. That goal however was too little too late, as John Carroll took the victory in impressive fashion by a score of 6-1.
With the win, the Blue Streaks improved their record on the season to 5-4 overall, including 1-0 in OAC play.
“Marietta was a great win for us on Saturday and the girls are very pumped. It’s important to start off our conference games with a win,” said head coach Tracy Blasius. “We need to keep this momentum up because we have a very tough game on the road on Saturday against Otterbein.”
The game against Otterbein will take place on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Otterbein College. It will be the second OAC conference match of the season for the Blue Streaks, and getting a win against Otterbein is important for them to stay on the winning track.
“This year our goal is to be first in our conference and win OACs in order to make it to the NCAA tournament,” said Acklin. “We’ve worked hard all season and will continue working hard on and off the field. Making sure we are in shape and are physically and mentally prepared for OACs is key if we want to win.”
The lopsided win over Marietta College was a step in the right direction for JCU and an impressive victory in its own, as it should propel the team in upcoming games.
“I am very confident that with the talent, unity, and ‘leave nothing on the field’ mentality that we have as a team, we can win OACs,” added Acklin.