COLUMBIA — With the score tied 0-0 going into halftime against Hannibal-LaGrange, Columbia College coach John Klein told his women's soccer team he had no more direction on finding a way to score.
The Cougars figured it out 30 seconds into the second half, when freshman forward Kelly Ross beat her defender at the top of the box and drove a shot past the goalkeeper. The goal was the first of three in the second half, giving the Cougars a 3-0 victory Wednesday against the Trojans.
Scoring early in the half seemed to ease the pressure on the Cougars who went on to break the game open with a goal just three minutes later from junior midfielder Stephanie Hale.
"Scoring really took the pressure off the team's back," Klein said. "It's been the story of the year. We needed to find some goal scorers on this team."
Klein said he will look to Hale and Ross to take a larger role in scoring for the rest of the season.
Ross added a second goal in the 72nd minute when she beat the goalkeeper in a footrace to a ball in the box and was able to put it in the goal.
She would have had a hat trick just two minutes later had the Hannibal-LaGrange goalie not made a lightning-fast kick save on a point blank shot a few yards in front of the goal.
Ross acknowledged that her goal helped her team add offense to a game in which the Cougars felt they had outplayed their opponent.
"The want-to-win factor is always there for us," Ross said. "Getting that confidence and energy from scoring is a huge boost in the back of our minds going forward."
Despite the scoreless first half, the Cougars did dominate on the offensive end, outshooting the Trojans 21-3.
Columbia College raises its record to 4-7 overall and 3-1 in American Midwest Conference play. Hannibal-LaGrange drops to 3-6-1 and 2-1 in conference play.
The Cougars are set to play next against Dordt College at 1 p.m. Saturday at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Stadium.