The women’s soccer team won 2-1 in their first home game of the season against Carthage College on Sept. 4. The bleachers of Reavis Stadium were full of fans and high energy throughout the entirety of the highly anticipated matchup.
Although the first half ended in a tie score of 0-0, the Tigers had more possession of the ball and put a great amount of pressure on the Lady Red’s defense. The first shot on goal came early on from senior Shaili Kumar, 2:08 into the start of the game. By the end of the half, DePauw had 5 shots while Carthage had 3.
Junior Natalie Kelley played a stellar game and was a key component in DePauw’s defense to shut down the Lady Reds’ opportunities on DePauw’s end.
“I think we had a lot of momentum going into the second half because we felt like we dominated play in the first half. We knew we were the better team and we were confident that we would win as long as we made a few adjustments and played with higher energy,” said Kelley.
The action picked up in the second half when DePauw earned a corner kick from Carthage. Shortly after the kick was taken, junior Madison Smith gained control of the ball and assisted a goal to senior Alex Berkley, making the score 1-0 with 40:59 remaining on the clock.
The Tigers kept their momentum going as the game became increasingly more aggressive between the two teams. Similar to the first goal, another scoring opportunity became available after a corner kick by DePauw. Sophomore Abbie Morris found the ball at her feet, took on a Carthage defender in the box and ultimately found the back of the net.
Morris said, “It felt absolutely amazing to score during the first home game with such a huge crowd, especially since we really needed a goal at that point in the game. The stands were packed, and that really meant a lot to all of us, and helped everyone stay hype throughout the game.”
Less than two minutes went by after Morris’ goal before Carthage was given a penalty kick due to a handball by DePauw in their own 18 yard box. Jacey Kent of the Lady Reds took the shot and scored with 26 minutes left in the game.
DePauw held strong through the remainder of the matchup, determined to hold their lead until the final buzzer. The team successfully persisted and locked in a 2-1 win for their first game on home turf.
Even with a win, the Tigers observed what could be learned from their weaknesses and how to make the team even stronger in the future.
Kelley said, “Moving forward our focus is figuring out how to ‘flip the switch’ from the moment the whistle blows to start the game. Oftentimes, we are a bit too slow to set the pace of the game, so figuring out how to set that intensity immediately will be key to our success in the future.”
Don’t miss a chance to see the Tigers live in action at their next home game on Sept. 8 against No. 12 Centre College at noon.