The Davy Phillips era for Washburn’s women’s soccer team is off to a winning start thanks to Emily Stauffer’s second-half goal and assist.
After struggling to create chances in the first half, the senior forward rifled a shot from the left side of the box that found the net. Stauffer later set up Paige Swanson’s goal as the Ichabods triumphed 2-0 in their season opener against Upper Iowa on Thursday night at Yager Stadium.
“There’s a lot of anticipation building towards the first game,” Washburn coach Davy Phillips said. “Every game matters, but it’s good to get the first one done with and a one in the win column.”
The Ichabods (1-0) started the game slowly, but eventually began to dictate the pace as they controlled the ball.
Washburn’s stifling defense allowed the Peacocks (0-1) little room to operate, with no shots truly troubling WU goalkeeper Kaitlin Minnich.
Despite the advantage in possession, the Ichabods were struggling to create any clear-cut scoring opportunities as they headed to the break scoreless.
Stauffer was confident that sticking to the game plan would result in shots eventually finding the net during the second half.
“We just wanted to keep possession and wear them down and we knew the chances would come,” she said.
Eight minutes into the second half, Stauffer put the Ichabods on the board with her strike from distance. With less than two minutes left in the game, she delivered a cross to Swanson who buried the chance, putting the game out of reach of the Peacocks.
“We just asked them to continue to keep putting the ball behind (Upper Iowa),” Phillips said. “They were only playing with three defenders and there’s a lot of horizontal space for them to defend — and the girls did a great job of doing that.
“Every game matters and we’re trying to win every single game. It’s a long journey but it’s about getting better every single day. I tell the girls, ‘If we get better every day we’re going to be in a really good place in two months.’ ”
With only 14 days of practice to adapt to their new coach, starting the season with a win should play a big role in the team’s confidence.
“It was extremely important for us (to start off with a win),” Stauffer said. “We’ve worked really hard since Day One. Having a new coach it was really important we started off the season strong.”
The Ichabods will look to continue their strong start to the season as they face Southwest Minnesota State at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Yager Stadium.
WASHBURN 2, UPPER IOWA 0
Upper Iowa 0 0 —0
Washburn 0 2 —2
Goals — Washburn: Stauffer, Swanson.
Assists — Washburn: Stauffer.
Shutout — Washburn: Minnich.
Records — Washburn 1-0, Upper Iowa 0-1