TIFFIN, Ohio - The Saginaw Valley State University women's soccer team was looking to get its season started on the right note as it began the 2014 season on the road at the 2014 Tiffin Dragon Tournament. The Lady Cardinals would do just that, using a pair of second half goals to claim a season-opening victory over the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds, 2-0.
It was the first-career collegiate coaching victory for Michael O'Neill, who took over the team earlier in the year and is in his first year of coaching at the collegiate level. O'Neill served as an assistant coach on the SVSU men's team for the past two seasons.
The first half featured a scoreless slate, with SVSU getting off five shots compared to four shots for Indy. The second half is where the big difference was made, however, as the Cards fired-off 11 shots to the Greyhounds' three.
Two of those 11 shots would find the back of the Indy net for SVSU, as freshman Stefanie Klug scored her first-career goal at the 57:34 mark to give the team a 1-0 lead. Roughly 20 minutes after and 77:45 into the game, last year's leading goal-scorer, sophomore Ashley Henderson, notched a goal of her own on a dribble around the keeper to extend the lead out to 2-0.
That's all the Saginaw defense would need, as sophomore Claire Spleth was solid between the posts, stopping all five Greyhound shots on goal to notch the shutout and move to 1-0-0 on the season.
The Cardinals put the pressure on all game as well, tallying 12 corner kicks compared to just a pair for Indianapolis.
O'Neill had some words on his analysis of the girls' play today:
"It was a great team performance today in very tough conditions. It was almost 95 degrees out there and we never stopped working for each other! We asked so many girls to play big minutes and they all delivered. It is a great way to start the season but we know we still have a lot of work to do. We are looking forward to the challenge against Bellarmine on Sunday and we will do our best to prepare for the game, as we expect it to be another tough encounter."