Falcon defense ensures team’s success

Defense wins games. It’s a fact. An offense can score a plethora of goals, but if the defense can’t stop the other team, it doesn’t make a difference.

SPU’s women’s soccer team is a perfect example of a successful defensive team.

Thursday afternoon, the Falcons faced off against the Humboldt State Lumberjacks. The game plan was simple: Score against them and don’t let them score.

They executed perfectly.

A mere 82 seconds into the game, junior midfielder Megan Lienhard received a pass from Jean Kolb and scored her third goal of the season for the Falcons. It was the earliest a goal had been scored in SPU women’s soccer history. From that point on, the ball didn’t make it into either net.

The Lumberjacks (4-5-0, 9-6-1) were held scoreless as the Falcon defense completed their eighth shutout in nine games and their ninth shutout of the season.

The 1-0 win in Arcata, Calif. gave the Falcons a Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) record of 7-0-1 with an overall record of 15-0-1.

Despite the win, the Falcons weren’t completely satisfied with their play.

"We all believe we could’ve brought a better game," said senior goalkeeper Jennifer Hull. "I think we can put away more goals."

Sophomore defender Carolyn Nason said bad weather conditions made the field difficult to play. "It had rained quite a bit before we got there," she said.

She also said the Falcons were simply having trouble finishing plays. Some of the shots were just barely missing, or the Lumberjacks’ keeper would make a nice play to block a goal.

Hull believed that SPU dominated the match. She said the score didn’t reflect the game that was actually played.

SPU and Humboldt each took six shots in the game and Hull made three saves. "My defense made my job really easy," Hull said, referring to the solid play of the defenders in front of her.

SPU leads the NCAA Division II in defense, allowing only four goals in 16 games. In those same 16 games, the Falcons have scored 42 goals of their own. Humboldt is second in the conference in scoring, but, by posting yet another shutout, the Falcons proved that their defense is exceptional.

In the end, a win is a win, and Nason said that at the beginning of the season the Falcons all hoped they would be where they are now. Even with the injuries that have afflicted the team, Nason believes they have grown a lot through the season.

Nason said it is a challenge to juggle schoolwork, especially when they have to go on road trips. However, on and off the field, she said, "We’ve all become a lot closer."

The Falcons play their sixth consecutive game on the road when they face Western Oregon on Thursday before returning home to Interbay Stadium to face the Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) Crusaders on Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be the first home game for the Falcons since Oct. 2.

SPU’s defense will have something to prove, as the last goal that they allowed came in a win against NNU on Oct. 13. Although the Crusaders have GNAC points-leader Katy McNutt, it would be foolish to think that the Falcons will surrender anything easily.

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Title: Falcon defense ensures team’s success | Author: Casey Calamusa | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2004-10-27 | Internal ID: 4151