Kean women’s soccer starts off-season strong
By Raymond Gurbisz
The Kean University women’s soccer team kicked off their 2012 season with a bang, sporting a 5-1 record through their first six games of the new season.
The Cougars, coming off a solid 10-4-3 campaign in 2011, are trying to live up to the high expectations set by many surrounding the team. If they can keep up their current play, things seem like they may go according to plan.
The Cougars first game came against Elms College back on August 31st, where the Cougars scored an impressive eight goals to kick off the season by dominating the Blazers. Starting off the season hot is a plus for any team and the Cougars demonstrated that with their 8-1 win in the opener.
September has been very kind to Cougars. Things seem to keep bouncing their way as the Cougars try to keep momentum in their favor. Not all of the Cougars success has to do with good bounces, however.
Solid goaltending has been a key for the Cougars during their recent surge. Since the season began, the Cougars have scored a total of 19 goals, while their opponents have only scored a combined total of 4 against them.
A large reason for this success is due to freshman goalkeeper Samantha Blair. Blair has been a nice surprise for the Cougars this season and has been seeing most of the time in the net. Blair was also named as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week after helping the Cougars take down No. 15 ranked Stevens Institute of Technology back on September 9. At the time of the award, Blair ranked second in the NJAC in save percentage (.867).
Senior forward Carly Seidel has also found success in the first few weeks of the season. Seidel currently leads the Cougars in shots on goal, goals scored, and points. Seidel has contributed four goals on the season to go along with her team-leading 10 points. Alongside Seidel, sophomore Shelby Pedersen and freshman Deanna Columbia both have three goals each to add to the team’s efforts.
The Cougars have yet to be severely outplayed in a game this season, having their single loss come to New York University in a close 1-0 game in which an early goal proved to be the difference.
Aside from the loss, the Cougars have demonstrated great poise in the first halves of their matches. Through the first six games of their season, the Cougars have scored 10 goals in the first period while they only have three against them. Also in the opening period, the Cougars have tallied a total of 59 shots on goal while opposing teams only have a combined 17.
It will be interesting to see in the upcoming weeks of the season, if the Cougars can keep the fire beneath them lit as they continue to try to start games off with a strong first period and keep things going they way they have been as of lately.