Wildcat soccer team faces tough road tests

Sophomore forward Tatum Wagner tries to hold position of the ball while sophomore midfielder Morgan Mauck swoops in during the Wildcats scrimmage on Aug. 6, 2016 at the Kansas State Soccer Complex. White beat Purple, 2-0. (File Photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

The Kansas State soccer season continues tonight and Sunday in Michigan with two more road games, part of an eight-game road trip kicking off their first season in existence.

Tonight at Oakland

The first stop for the Wildcats (0-1-1) is Rochester, Michigan, where they will take on the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.

The parallels between the Wildcats’ performances and the Grizzlies’ ones this season so far are striking.

Like the Wildcats, whose strongest performance of the season came last Sunday, the Grizzlies played better in their second game of the season than in their first, earning their first win of the season by beating Saginaw Valley State 1-0. Freshman goalkeeper Sophia Braun made two saves, earning the shutout for the Grizzlies.

Also like the Wildcats, the Grizzlies struggled in their season opener last Friday, losing 2-0 to Montana University the same night K-State lost 1-3 to Saint Louis.

In each case, goalkeeping was strong but not enough to get the win. K-State started freshman goalkeeper Tania Chassot, who made 10 saves on 13 shots on goal, while Oakland’s Braun made three saves on three shots on goal after taking over at halftime for senior Alison Holland with the Grizzlies down 2-0.

The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPN3 or for free through kstatesports.com.

Sunday at Central Michigan

The Wildcats then head to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, for a match with the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-0-0).

The Chippewas have started strong this year, outscoring opponents 5-1 in their first two games this season.

Goalkeeping has been big for the Chippewas. Senior Kristen Knutson has played every minute in goal for Central Michigan, allowing only a single goal on seven shots faced.

The Chippewas have outscored opponents 4-1 in the second half of their two games this season and have outshot opponents 19-15 in the second half. Their 39 total shots are more than double that of K-State, which has 17 so far.

Central Michigan’s vulnerability may be in the second half, however. In first halves this season, they have only allowed a total of six shots but have allowed nearly triple that in the second. Meanwhile, the majority of the Wildcats’ shots have come in the second half, where they have gotten nine shots versus their four in the first halves of their first two games this season.

Kickoff for the game against Central Michigan is scheduled for noon Sunday.

It will be broadcasted for free on kstatesports.com and CSN Digital.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.