On a picture perfect October evening, with the air crisp and clear, the Flagler College Lady Saints soccer squad lost to NAIA No. 1 Lindsey Wilson College at Flagler Field.
The seemingly undaunted Lady Saints came out strong in the first half against the Blue Raiders, led by freshman defensemen Samantha Warr and sophomore midfielder Caitlin Eggimann. The Lady Saints took a number of shots at Blue Raiders goaltender Lisbeth Skjodt, but could not put the ball in the back of the net. Despite that inability to score, Coach Teddy Meyer was very impressed with his young team.
“That was the best first half of soccer we played all year,” Meyer said. “We had three massive scoring opportunities, but we just did not finish.”
The second half started much the same for the Lady Saints, getting scoring opportunities from sophomore forwards Taryn King and Pam Quimby, but to no avail. The Blue Raiders were not going to be denied for long. Rowena Alsanea made a long run down the right side of the field leaving her room to pass the ball across in front of the net to Jill Lirbank-Ahnbaek who banked it home in the left corner of the net. The goal broke a scoreless tie in the 56th minute and gave the Blue Raiders a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Raiders were not done yet. Yvonne Santos scored with only three seconds left in the game off a corner kick by Hishamar Flaconer sealing the victory for Lindsey Wilson.
“We tried to get back into the game, but I could not push anymore girls up on offense,” Meyer said. “I would be risking another goal. In my eyes, it was a one-goal game. If you have any kind of miscommunication like we did in the second half, then you will get the end result. Our keeper Kristen Nelson played great, but the first goal — there was nothing we could do about it. The girl just crossed the ball and put it out of reach.”
The Lady Saints held the NAIA’S top team to just three shots in the first half with the their smothering defense, and the entire team shut down Lindsey Wilson’s leading scorer, Kristen Pedersen. Pederson was scoreless and only had one shot on goal.
“We identified her and knew what she was going to do more than any other forward we played against this season,” Meyer said. “We also got fantastic performances from everyone and I think it is a big reason why we kept up with them as close as we did.”
The Lady Saints next match is Saturday, Oct. 14. at 7 p.m., against a very tough NCAA Div II opponent, the 24th-ranked St. Leo’s University Lady Lions. Midfielder Jennifer O’Conner who has seven goals, three assists and 40 shots on the 2006-2007 season leads St. Leo into the match.
“I think this game will be a battle,” Meyer said. “The girls just need to settle in and remember what it was like to battle some of these other top ranked teams. We are not going to give up. The last two games we have played superb, and we are going to battle to the end.”