MALTA – Wednesday’s home game was bigger than one game for the Kishwaukee Community College Kougars women’s soccer team; it was the start of brand new era in the school’s athletic program.
The Kougars lost their first ever home game in program history to the Waubonsee Chiefs 8-1, but for the team it was all about putting forth effort and making a lasting legacy.
“It feels really cool, especially to know that we’re kind of getting to do the first everythings and leaving a cool legacy,” Kougar midfielder and DeKalb graduate Emma Rourke said. “Definitely just a positive legacy, letting everyone know that we’re here and we’re open and friendly.”
[Photos by Mark Busch – firstname.lastname@example.org]
Kougars coach Zachary Ludwig was pleased with his team’s performance considering how new the program is.
“Coming in from where we started to where we are, we were able to get organized, we were able to try to execute the game plan as best we can,” Ludwig said. “To be honest, we added our last player last week.”
The players echoed the enthusiasm of the coach.
“Honestly, It felt very exciting because we’re making our history our first time playing [at home], defender and Genoa-Kingston graduate Sarai Orozco said. “I’m happy with the way we played even though the score didn’t add up to where we wanted.”
There also has been a learning curve for the players coming up to the next level of competition above high school.
“The difference is more high intensity,” said Orozco. “During the practices we always go 100 percent. The competition is definitely bigger because there’s a lot of girls that are in their 20s.”
Starting up a program also has other challenges outside of playing the actual games.
“[There are] some of those kinks you don’t think about,” Ludwig said. “It’s been a long time since maintenance has had to do the field before or we had to order all new uniforms and all new equipment.”
For the game, the Kougars couldn’t keep up with the Chiefs from the start of as goalkeeper Avery Mertz, a DeKalb graduate, took a barrage of shots that led to four goals on 14 shots in the first half.
The Kougars got their only goal of the game, and first home goal for the program, from Natalie Herrera with only 11 seconds left in the first half.
In the second half, the Chiefs’ onslaught continued as they piled up four more goals and blanked the infant program for the half.
By the numbers: For the Kougars, Mertz had 17 saves. For the Chiefs, both Marlene Sanchez and Isabel Cerda had three goals apiece.
Beyond the stats: Kougars sophomore midfielder Hope Akers has an interesting way of attempting a sideline throw-in: doing a front-flip and releasing the ball as she completes the acrobatics.
They said it: “[The first home game] was cool,” Ludwig said. “I was really happy with how many people came. I wasn’t sure how many people would come, but pretty much the entire sideline on the other side of the field was full. We had a sign out there that said, ‘Go Kougars.’ It was fun.”
Up next: The Kougars will play Richard J. Daley College at Kennedy King College at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Chiefs will host Morton College on at 4 p.m. Wednesday.