The K-State Wildcats Soccer Team began its inaugural season over the weekend, but will have to wait to earn its first victory after losing the first game and drawing in the second one.
The matches were the first and second of what will be an eight-game road trip before the team plays its first home match in Manhattan on Sept. 16. The team previously had beaten Washburn University 5-0 in an exhibition match last Tuesday.
The Wildcats opened the season Friday night in St. Louis, Missouri against the Saint Louis Billikens. Freshman goaltender Tania Chassot made 10 saves for the Wildcats but allowed three goals in the loss.
The loss did not fall completely on Chassot’s shoulders, however.
K-State’s offense struggled, getting out-shot 10-2 in the first half and 24-7 through the course of the game. The lone Wildcats’ goal came off a deflection from a corner by freshman forward Katie Cramer.
By that point, however, K-State was already down 3-0. Junior goaltender Mary Neihaus made just one save for the Billikens, while allowing one goal in the win.
Wildcats coach Mike Dibinni said there were some positives despite the game’s outcome.
“If you look at the whole story of the game, we dug ourselves a hole at the start of the game,” Dibinni said to K-State Sports. “We came out slow and a little jittery. If you look at the second half, it was a 1-1 tie. That is a positive. The result wasn’t there, but we learned a lot today.”
Despite the good second-half, the Wildcats lost the match by a final score of 3-1.
Despite playing only two days earlier, the Wildcats went to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where they took on the SIUE Cougars.
The match went the proverbial “distance,” ending in a 0-0 draw after the teams played through two overtime periods without a goal.
Dibinni told K-State Sports the difference from game one to game two was evident.
“I think coming out of the gates we were a lot more intense,” Dibinni said to K-State Sports. “We made some lineup changes that helped with that intensity. We had a veteran lineup in there to start the game to give us composure and attitude that we needed and we built off it.”
The game was far from gentle though as the two teams were called for 23 fouls and eight yellow cards.
Still, the performance was more balanced than the first one. During regulation time, the Wildcats managed six shots, only two less than the Grizzlies.
The next game for the Wildcats is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday against the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3, as well as for free on kstatesports.com.