For the first time this fall, it felt like fall. With temperatures in the low 60s and crisp air, the women’s soccer team took to the John F. Wiley Stadium turf in its first home conference game of the season against the Grove City Wolverines.
The Yellow Jackets [2-8-1, 0-1-1] suffered one tough bounce defensively, which led to the only Grove City [4-4-2, 2-0] goal. Freshman goalkeeper Autumn Blair utilized a goal kick to put the ball back in play, but the ball ricocheted off the back of a Jacket defender and set up perfectly for the offensive attack of Grove City.
In the 57th minute Ruby Mattson put the ball into the net from around 8-yards out following the bounce. Head coach Laura Heethuis said the goal was a matter of luck.
“We need give ourselves more credit than what we do at times,” Heethuis said. “The midfield and defense did well, it was unlucky to give up that goal. Short goal kick that happened to go in the back of the net, so we need to be sure to always keep our eye on the ball.”
Mattson’s goal would go down as the only score of the night, and the Wolverines defeated the Jackets, 1-0.
Blair played well in goal, saving nine of 10 shots in her first start in two weeks, returning from a hamstring injury. Blair said she felt good getting back into the net.
Waynesburg was outshot 22-12, but spurts of offense were shown by Emily Hill and Leesha Wagner who had three shots each and classmates Haley Frizzell and Megan Briski who added two shots each.
“If we score a goal early in the game it changes things,” Heethuis said. “We have to keep fighting to figure out ways to finish. That’s being creative in the attack and get numbers forward.”
Seven of Waynesburg’s eight losses have come by just one goal. As frustrating as that is, Blair believes this shows the team is close to winning important matchups.
“The games get really competitive,” Blair said. “Sometimes we make an error and the other team capitalizes. I think if we continue to work hard and try to capitalize on some of their mistakes things can turn around for us.”
Waynesburg will have over a week off until its next contest which kicks off at 1 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 12 in Bethany, W.V., when the Yellow Jackets take on the Bison.
“They’re a tough team, always hard to play,” Heethuis said. “We have to make sure we are prepared and part of that comes with some rest. The girls will get a day off this week to rest their minds, bodies and get ready.