Soccer starts off season solidly


Kenneth Armant | The Chart File

Former player Dana Wilhelm looks to clear a ball during the Lions contest on Oct. 6, 2013 at Hal Bodon Field against Lindenwood. The game ended in a 0-0 tie after going to double overtime.

Matt Barney, Sports Writer

The Lions are off to a good start to begin their season as they have racked up two victories, adding one loss and a tie.

The stalemate came Sunday in their latest match as the team battled back twice from single-goal deficits to tie East Central in a two-overtime thriller for Southern’s first home match of the season.

“It was a frustrating game,” said goalkeeper Beth Hammons. “We felt like we were the better team, but we didn’t really show it. They came out strong at the beginning of both halves, and we were constantly fighting our way back.”

“I’m proud of my team for playing hard through the entire game and not giving up,” said midfielder Hannah Ishmael. “We kept answering when they would score, but in the end it was very disappointing to end up with a tie since we fought so hard.”

All of the Lions’ games to this point have been non-conference matchups, so the loss and the tie will not kill them in the standings.

“I’m pleased with where we currently are,” said head coach Alese Woolard. “I think we have done a number of things well so far in the season. I’ve been very pleased with our work ethic and intensity at practice and in games. The team has done well recognizing our strengths, and we have been able to get a number of people involved in the attack, which is what we must have during conference time. We have also played well defensively; we have given up a few goals, but I think our defensive effort has been really good so far.”

The Lions have an array of new talent on their roster featuring 10 freshmen.

“We still have a lot of new faces mixing into our lineup, and it is just a matter of playing together and getting the kinks worked out,” said Hammons. “I don’t really see it as a problem but more of something that time will sort out. We are confident in most areas, but continuing to believe in ourselves and the potential we have will only make us better in games and in practice.”

“Transitioning from last year to this year, we have grown so much and even the freshmen have stepped into their roles and are keeping up with our paces,” said Ishmael.

The Lions’ biggest victory of the young season came Sept. 12 in a 5-0 blowout win against Rogers State, where four different players netted goals while Hammons pitched a shutout.

Freshman forward Hannah Bomar has led the way in scoring thus far with three goals and a total of nine points, including a record nine shots on goal.

Meanwhile, senior forward Casey Vitale has added three goals of her own.

The Lions take the field for their first conference game of the season at 4 p.m. today on the road against Southwest Baptist.