Lady Blues tie one, lose one

From the start of the season, the Lady Blues soccer team has been playing as the underdogs of the MIAA conference and they are learning to embrace that role.

In two tough games this week, the Blues played well, coming away with a tie against the No. 22 nationally ranked Truman State University Bulldogs, 1-1, and narrowly losing to Southwest Baptist University, 2-1. One goal of the Lady Blues this season, is to improve each game and this week, they accomplished that.

“I thought the positive result against Truman was great for our confidence. We’d lost six times in a row to them and though we lost to Baptist, I thought we deserved at least a tie,” said Tim Collins, Washburn head coach. “We created chances and fought hard to draw level and just came short by hitting the post and the cross bar a few times.”

Against the Bulldogs, the Blues scored first in the 31st minute of the game on a goal from Megan Buckley, a freshman defender, her first collegiate goal. Buckley scored on a free kick from 43 yards out and placed it perfectly into the upper right corner of the Truman goal.

But Truman was quick to respond. Truman’s Megan Buri scored in the 38th minute with a blast past Washburn goalkeeper Ashley Klone. Despite the goal, the Lady Blues played hard, keeping the Bulldogs at bay and coming away with a tie after losing six consecutive meetings against Truman. Klone made 10 saves and kept the Blues in the game.

“Against Truman I thought Ashley Klone had one of her best games ever,” said Collins.

In the Southwest Baptist match, the Lady Blues fell behind 2-0 in the first half and would fall short of a comeback, losing 2-1. Rachel Hansen, freshman forward, scored the lone goal for Washburn.

The Blues will look to continue to improve in conference games with two this week. They take on No. 3 nationally ranked University of Central Missouri on Thursday at Yager Stadium at 6 p.m. and then travel to Joplin, Mo. to take on Missouri Southern State University. Collins believes that fan support is important for the Blues, especially against a team of UCM’s ability.

“Thursday it’s key to have our fan base solid.  It’s going to be a great night to come watch us play and the support would give us an added factor,” said Collins.

The Blues will use their newly-found confidence in the came against Central Missouri and will have to bring their “A” game to the table to take down the Jennies. Collins says his team has found the element they had been missing at the beginning of the season.

“Our greatest growth has come in our confidence.  We play with a swagger and a purpose, and we’re much, much more composed rather than panicking in the attack,” said Collins.