Soccer splits season, home openers to begin 2018 campaign

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 5:23 PM
Soccer splits season, home openers to begin 2018 campaign by Erica Burkholder
Photo: Ben McCullough

The Edinboro women’s soccer team opened their season at Notre Dame (Ohio) on Aug. 30 with a 1-0 win, but lost their first home game, 4-2, against Shippensburg on Saturday.

The Fighting Scots’ first game of the season was a close one. The two teams went into the half tied at 0-0, although ‘Boro was leading in shots. Danielle Chatten scored the first goal of the season off Rebecca Manns’s assist in the 54th minute, a conversion that would end up being the lone score.

Edinboro led in shots and shots on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Anna Voelker earned her first win and first shutout as a Fighting Scot.
“We didn’t expect that we were going to dominate the way we did,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Gary Kagiavas said in an interview on Monday. “[We] expect to work hard to get the win, and we were away from home — there was less pressure — and so we won that game. We did pretty well.”

While Edinboro controlled the game against the Falcons, they struggled against conference foe Shippensburg. Kagiavas said he takes part of the blame for the team’s struggles against the Raiders.

“When you hype up something, sometimes it creates this anxiety factor. I probably hyped up the game too much, put too much pressure on the youngsters and so they were nervous, couldn’t keep possession of the ball,” he said of the young squad. Kagiavas also made a point to talk about how young of a team he’s coaching this year. The team consists of eight freshmen, 11 sophomores, three juniors and one senior.
“We were getting ourselves in all kinds of problems,” he said in relation to the youth.

Shippensburg dominated the first half, scoring three of their four goals before halftime.

The Fighting Scots started their comeback attempt minutes after the second half started. Ellie Frania scored in the 51st minute off a Jenna Derbis assist. The Raiders then took advantage of a lapse in ‘Boro’s defense, though, scoring another goal in a breakaway. Cameron Bujnoski scored in the 88th minute to bring the final score to 4-2.

Bujnoski and Frania both scored their first goal of their Edinboro careers, while Derbis earned the first point of her career with her assist in the second half.

Kagiavas also talked about how substituting players can affect the game, as subs led to Edinboro’s first goal. Later though, more substitutions seemed to disrupt solid play and might have weakened their offense, he explained.

He added that his standard approach to coaching hasn’t been as effective with his team this season.

“I recognized that as soon as we put pressure on them, they don’t necessarily react the way I was hoping,” Kagiavas said. “Maybe next year is a different kind of animal, but for this year I’ve got to be very careful [about] how much pressure I put on them.”

The outlook for this season isn’t as dreary as their home-opening loss might suggest, as Kagiavas expects to end up in the top eight of the conference.

“I think we play really hard. I think we need the opportunity to just make the playoffs, and once we make the playoffs, I think we’ll be a whole different animal at that point,” he said. “But we need to get there and the problem is the results need to come.”
The Fighting Scots will travel to Lock Haven University Saturday before hosting California University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Kagiavas advises fans to expect a positive surprise from his young squad and said, “I’m quite confident [in] the character these kids have, the amount of team spirit they have, the amount that they like each other, [and] how hard they play should end up giving us some results we don’t expect.”

Erica Burkholder can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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