Baka Scores Program's First NAIA Goal in 9-1 Loss to MacMurrayStars' defense shines in second half, limiting the Highlanders to a pair of goals on 17 shots
JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – It isn’t often that the lone goal scored in a 9-1 loss generates so much excitement, but the goal scored by Stephens freshman Rose Baka in the 62nd minute set off a rather joyous celebration.
The long-awaited first goal for the recently resurrected Stephens College soccer team arrived in Tuesday’s (Sept. 10) road match at NCAA Division III MacMurray College. Since the re-establishing a soccer program at Stephens in 2012, opponents punched in 183 goals prior to the Stars shaking the proverbial monkey off their back.
“I have no doubt that getting this hurdle out of the way will allow us to move forward and focus on other things,” Stephens head soccer coach Xander Kennedy said.
Despite a 7-0 deficit heading into the break, the Stars remained loose and confident. That showed in the second half as Stephens buckled down on defense, limited its miscues and moved the ball into Highlander territory.
It was only fitting that an impressive build up accompanied the first goal in 13 matches. The Stars strung together several crisp passes to find a wide-open Rose Baka. With a one-on-one opportunity from 15 yards out, the Columbia, Mo. native sent a low shot right past MacMurray goalkeeper Amanda Gorell at the 61:38 mark.
Overshadowed by the goal, the Stars limited the Highlanders to just two goals in the second half, a season-best for the Stephens’ defense.
“It was a completely different game in the second period,” Kennedy added. “I wish we could have come out with that sort of identity the entire game. You take the score from the second half and it’s a 2-1 ballgame.”
Stephens College recorded another season-high in the match with five shots, those coming from Baka, Kenzie Andrade, Ilia Siegwald, Dani Wilson and Sammy Dorman.
The Stars (0-4-0) are back at home this Friday, Sept. 13 to take on Central Methodist University at 4 p.m.