With fans back cheering in the stands of Loyola Soccer Park, the Loyola women’s soccer team (2-0-0) secured a 3-0 win in its regular season home opener against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Aug. 22.
Junior midfielder Megan Nemec scored her first two goals of the season minutes apart to put the Ramblers up 2-0 within the first 15 minutes. Graduate transfer Kailee Coonan tallied the third goal for the Ramblers in the second half.
Loyola head coach Barry Bimbi said he was proud of his team’s attention to detail and how the players put pressure on the SIUE side through winning corner kicks and throw-ins.
“We were just relentless defensively, which kind of jump starts our offense,” Bimbi said. “I thought it was overall a great team performance.”
The team got off to a quick start with a corner kick from senior forward Bailey Faulkner less than two minutes into the game. The Ramblers kept putting pressure on the Cougars’ defense and took four shots before Nemec’s first goal of the season in the 12th minute.
Right after the Ramblers’ second corner kick, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year headed in her second goal in the 14th minute.
Loyola wouldn’t score again in the first half, but the team’s precise passing and quick pace kept the crowd of fans engaged. The Ramblers outshot the Cougars 8-0 in the remainder of the half.
Nemec’s performance not only caught the attention of the crowd, who cheered her on as she weaved through SIUE’s defense throughout the first half, but also her coach.
“Usually she’s assisting or setting up some other things and being dangerous, but today was her day to score some goals,” Bimbi said. “Just a great performance.”
The game kept up the tempo in the second half, and the Ramblers tallied another point when Coonan scored her first goal of the season off an assist from junior defender Olivia Knab.
SIUE managed to make three shots and four corner kicks after Coonan’s goal, but the visitors couldn’t find the back of the net, giving Loyola senior goalkeeper Maddie Hausmann the shutout.
The Ramblers finished 22 shots with 11 on goal compared to the Cougars’ seven shots with two on goal. Loyola also took 12 corner kicks compared to SIUE’s four.
Nemec said the team worked on trying to play hard against SIUE from the get-go, which worked in its favor today.
“We got them nervous, we put pressure on them really quick,” Nemec said. “I think that helped a lot with our offense.”
The Ramblers will travel south for their next game when they take on Florida Atlantic University Aug. 27. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on CUSA TV.