The Shepherd University women’s soccer team has started off the 2014 season with two consecutive victories against Chowan and Ursuline. The lady Rams were ranked fifth out of seven teams in the Mountain East preseason poll but they are looking to surprise some people and improve on their 8-9-2 overall record from 2013. This team is young but it has all the pieces to make some noise within the Mountain East Conference. However, they will have to find more consistency from their offense compared to last season. They certainly got that in their first game of the 2014 campaign by nearly scoring half the amount of goals the team tallied all of last year.
In the season opener on Thursday, September 4th at Chowan, the women’s soccer team came out firing on all cylinders and shutout the Hawks by the score of 8-0. Chowan never really had a chance in this one and fell behind early in the match. Going into the intermission, Shepherd already had a 5-0 lead courtesy of goals from freshman forward Lexy Junker, who recorded two goals, freshman midfielders Taylor Harwood, Megan Norton, and Stephanie Cox and sophomore defender Rachel Sefton. The Rams would tally three more goals in the second half thanks to goals from senior midfielder Kelsey J. Smith, Junker and senior midfielder Lexi Vondrak. Shepherd possessed the ball nearly the entire match and managed a 44-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The team then returned to action on Saturday, September 6th when they hosted Ursuline. This match was not as one sided as their season opener against Chowan as the Lady Rams had to go to double overtime in order to get the 2-1 victory. Freshman defender Ashlee Dull scored the game-winning goal unassisted to lift Shepherd to the win over the Arrows of Ursuline College. Taylor Dackin gave Ursuline an early 1-0 advantage by scoring two minutes into the match however Shepherd continued to play confident and aggressive soccer and subsequently, rallied to tie the game at the 78:48 mark when senior midfielder Kasey Canterbury scored unassisted. The Rams had a 17-9 advantage in shots on goal and a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The team will be on the road for their next few matches. They will travel to Syracuse, N.Y. to face off against Le Moyne College. Following that, they will go against Davis & Elkins College. There are still many games to go but if the first two games are any indication, the Lady Rams are in for a successful season.