Making a good first impression can be daunting, and the soccer team, currently in its first year at Stephens, recently found themselves in that situation. The newly assembled Stephen’s Soccer recently found themselves as a part of that commonality. The team’s first formal appearance came during their first game at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area. They played against Missouri Baptist University.
Missouri Baptist is considered the best team in the NAIA, the conference in which Stephens sports teams compete. From Chesterfield, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri Baptist is nine games into their season, making them both well practiced and well-prepared. Stephens lost with a final score of 0-14.
“There’s every reason to believe that this is going to be our most difficult game of the season. Everything is working against us,” Xander Kennedy, Stephens’ soccer coach said. “We’re playing the best team in the conference, we took their best punch, and we’re going to keep fighting.”
The game was closer than the disparity its final score suggests.
“The other team is fighting for their goals– they’re not just waltzing in,” Clayton Kennedy, the coach’s brother, said from the sidelines.
Briannica Ponder, a freshman player and performance theatre major, came to similar conclusions.
“Our goalie has made a lot of good saves and defense is working really hard. We’re still learning technique, but we’ve got a lot of spirit to make up for it,” Ponder said. “First year teams never really do well, but we’re fighting harder because we’re new.”
Not all the players left the game feeling so optimistic.
“I’m super proud of the team as a whole, it just gets difficult because I feel like as co-captain and a senior it’s my job to carry the team,” Elsie Vieira, senior MPA major, said.
Vieira credits much of her pessimism to her lack of time with the team. While others get to grow with the team, she has only one month to win with the Stars before the season ends and she graduates.
A good number of students, faculty and staff attended the game. President Dianne Lynch, Deb Duren, director of student services, and James Walter, the school’s reference librarian, were among those rooting for the Stars.
“I still think this is a success. We’re learning a lot and discovering where our strengths are,” Ponder said.
While it may be too soon to expect our Stars to have big wins anytime soon, numbers aren’t the only measure of success.