The Men and Women's Soccer both went 1-1 over the weekend, but they showed great strides from game one to game two. Both sides are looking for a quick turn around of play as league play approaches, and I think they're both ready to succeed.
On Friday, the Women's Soccer team suffered a tough 1-0 loss to Indiana State. I was pretty critical of how the team played...but there was definitely good to be taken from the game. Pass selection was low and they could only muster a few shots. But there was room to improve. There were great things that happened Sunday.
First, the two stand out keepers continued to stand out. Reversing their appearance order from Friday, Guzman and Haseley combined for 9 saves on 10 shots on goal. They were peppered, but stood up to the challenge. Both showed they could come out into the box or stay between the pipes and still be effective. What I think is most impressive is their sharing of the work load. If they can continue to split time, whoever is in net will remain fresh and optimally effective.
Second, the ladies showed perseverance. Sarah Colby scored her first goal of the season off of an incredible pass by Ashley Doreski to split all three Kent State defenders for the score. KSU answered just nine minutes later with a tally, and I got worried. Could they come back? Would they be able to show mental toughness and still attack with the same gusto as before the goal? My worries grew through the second half when the Jaguars only mustered two shots on goal following Kent State tying the score. Finally, Colby was able to take the ball down the right flank and center a pass to Megan Hock's head behind two defenders in the 55th minute. They were able to suppress every attack by KSU, and still maintain a solid aggressive nature against a good opponent.
The women need to learn from their last game. It's a perfect chance to start
The men had an equally important game in Edwardsville against the Cougars of SIUE.
Junior goal keeper Tyler Keever single handedly won the game on defensively. The first half was all IUPUI as the men controlled the pace, speed, and physicality easily in the first 45 minutes. Jeff Keyler was able to notch his third goal of the season on a Tyler Fritcha centering pass, and Perez Agaba had an opportunities to do more damage than that. Keever was only called on to make a save once. But in the second half, IUPUI came out looking to maintain their lead, and SIUE did their best to change that. Keever went from one stop to eight, including an incredible mid-air swat to his left that could've been voted the MLS Save Of The Week. Luckily he was voted the Summit League's Defensive Player Of The Week. If he can keep up the tremendous play, the Jaguars will be winners.
The other thing I loved to see was, and I mentioned this in my last post about the guys, how they live through Agaba. His official statistics are misleading, 2 shots and 1 assist. But he made a huge impact in the entire game. Whether it was chasing down long passes, blasting shots that were deflected, drawing defenders to leave other guys open, or centering balls on net, he was everywhere and it showed. He played for all but five of the minutes. If the Jaguars want to be successful, which I think they can definitely be, they'll need to continue that practice.
I hope that at the end of the season, the men and women can look back at September 19 as the day their seasons turned around.