COLUMBIA — Xander Kennedy couldn't believe it.
"Until that ball hit the net, I wasn't going to believe it," Stephens soccer coach Xander Kennedy said. "There have been so many times dating back to last season where we've been close to getting a goal. There was some sort of invisible barrier that was keeping us out."
Stephens broke that barrier by scoring a goal for the first time since the program restarted last season. The school previously had a women's soccer team in the 1990s.
The goal was scored in the 62nd minute of Tuesday night's 9-1 loss at MacMurray College.
The play began when junior midfielder Kenzie Andrade passed a ball out wide to sophomore midfielder Michaela Daniels who then centered the ball to sophomore midfielder Dani Wilson. Wilson passed the ball through two defenders to freshman forward Rose Baka, who took a touch before shooting it past the MacMurray goalkeeper.
Kennedy described his team's reaction to the goal as "the most ridiculous 8-1 goal celebration you'll ever see."
"I was just happy for the girls to have that sort of release," he said.
"The ref yelled at us because we were over-excited, so we had to go back to our positions," Baka said.
Prior to this score, Stephens had gone 13 games without a goal while conceding 183 goals in the process.
Although Baka did not know she would be the first to score for Stephens, she knew how she would celebrate.
"We usually don't practice on game days, but a couple of us went to help out the goalie," Baka said. "I was like, if we do score, if I do score a goal, I'm going to airplane all the way down the field. So after everybody was done hugging me, I airplaned the rest of the way."
The goal was exciting not only for Baka but for her teammates as well.
"It was so much adrenaline that I had to ask somebody what happened," Andrade said.
Now that the team has its first goal under its belt, the players and coaches have bigger hopes for the rest of the season.
"We got that monkey off our back, and now, we can really move forward and focus on the more important things," Kennedy said. "Creating a successful program is more than a single goal."
After this loss, the team moves to 0-4 on the season. Stephens plays its next game at 4 p.m. Friday against Central Methodist University. It will be held at Cosmopolitan Park.