By DRAKE LOHSE
The Drake Women’s Soccer team had two consecutive conference wins over Illinois State and Valparaiso, however, they were unable to capitalize on this momentum on the road Saturday with a loss to Loyola of Chicago.
Loyola did everything it could to earn a victory— and Drake did not make it easy for
them. Head Coach Lindsey Horner highlighted this sentiment after the game.
“I’m really pleased with how we competed and defended,” Horn said. “We were organized and did a really good job of keeping play in front of us.”
Loyola junior Aleksa Tataryn scored the game’s only goal in the 75th minute of play. The shot came from 18 yards out—flying just barely over the head of standout Drake goalie Kelsie Stone, who spoke to the tenacity of the Loyola offense after the game.
“Loyola was very good offensively they kept me and my defense very busy,” Stone said. “There was so much activity going on in the box we always had to keep our head on a swivel and be ready to take a hit. We rose to that challenge very well.”
Steady goalkeeping is key to separating the top of the conference from the bottom. A team’s energy often times relies on the goalie should their defensive efforts fall short. Stone emphasized the importance of healthy goalkeeping.
“A bad performance from the goalkeeper might change the confidence of the team,” Stone said. “A team has to be confident in their goalkeeper and if they are worried with how we might perform it could add to more anxiety and stress in a game. There is so much pressure put on a goalkeeper and if we can’t accept that pressure it gets put onto everyone else on the field.”
Despite the up and down success of the Bulldogs this season, Stone has remained
consistent. The Drake sophomore ended the game Saturday with seven total saves against
18 shot attempts from the Ramblers. With her seventh and final save Saturday night, she tallied her 60th overall this year—resulting in a save percentage of 81 percent on the season. Her effort against the Ramblers marked the third time this season where she has reached seven saves, and the eighth time she has reached 5 plus saves.
Against Stone, opposing teams have shot a combined 155 shots and only 14 have made it past.
Aside from her performance on paper, Stone is a vocal leader out on the field. If you’ve attended a Drake Women’s Soccer game in person, Stone’s voice is more than likely the one you hear first, even from the stands.
“As a goalkeeper we are a big leadership role. I have to communicate and organize
those in front of me so they can do their job and organize those in front of them,” Stone said. “The goalkeeper has to be a big presence vocally and physically in every game, I am not a very loud person off the field but once I step onto the field I become another person but that is what is demanded from the position. We are there to keep the team running smoothly and organized and make a great save every once in a while.”
Drake has now entered conference play, and will look to rely on the stable play of their
goalkeeper for the remaining four games. The Bulldogs return to Cownie Complex for Senior Night against Evansville on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m.