Lady Blues soccer splits two on road, returns for homestand

Most of the time, the only recognition goalkeepers receive is criticism after being beaten. Forwards are usually the fan favorites because of the offense and goal scoring they create, while goalies are charged with the less exciting task of staying back and deflecting all the shots sent their way.

However, Washburn’s two-goalie tandem deserves credit for the team’s split in back to back weekend road games.

Jenny Persons, a junior, started at goalkeeper for the Lady Blues in last Friday’s game at Truman State. She allowed a couple goals in the game, but Persons’ determination to play through off the field troubles overshadows the outcome of Washburn’s 2-0 loss.

“We just had a death in the family, and my brother has been in the hospital,” said Persons. “He’s only 15, and he’s still stable.”

Persons played well despite having other thoughts weighing on her mind, but the team as a whole got off to a slow start and could not generate enough offense to come back late in the game.

“We weren’t really in it at the start,” said Persons. “We were still running around trying to figure out what to do when they scored. We pulled it together later in the first half and had some nice shots in the second half, but we just couldn’t put any in.”

Persons had six saves in the game, but Truman State’s goals in the 35th and 40th minutes were enough for the Bulldogs to get the win and improve to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the MIAA.

The Lady Blues made the trip to Northwest Missouri for another game 24 hours later and picked up a 2-0 win, which boosts their record to 5-4-1 overall and 3-2 in conference play. It was freshman Ashley Klone’s turn to start at goalie, and she had six saves on the way to her fourth shutout in six starts this season.

“We turned the negative energy after yesterday’s game into positive energy, and we played better as a team in this game,” said Klone.

Keely Lambeth scored in the 14th minute, and junior Jessica Mainz put the game away with a goal in the 86th minute. Junior Manon Englehardt was credited with the assist on both goals. The increased offensive production, and Klone’s solid goalkeeping kept NWMSU out of the game, and they fell to 2-6 on the season.

“We can build on the win headed in to our games this week,” said Klone.

The Lady Blues return home after playing in road games with crowds of 74 and 171 people. Those attendance numbers are small even for an average Washburn home game, but they are nothing compared to the 2,005 fans the team expects at its 7 p.m home game Thursday against Southwest Baptist. Thursday’s game, which the team hopes will draw a record setting crowd with pre-game tailgating and promotions, will be followed by another 7 p.m. home game Friday against Missouri Southern. Former Washburn defender Megan Horvath will have her jersey retired at Friday’s game.

“It helps our confidence coming off a win, and it will be good to play at home again,” said Klone.