COLUMBIA — A 1-17 record is generally not considered successful in college soccer, or in any sport for that matter. Losing by double digits in 10 of those games could also be considered an embarrassment. For the Stephens College soccer team, however, the one win is what really matters.
Stephens finished its season on Wednesday with a 15-0 loss to Benedictine University. This was only the team's second season in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics competition. It was also a season of many firsts for Stephens College.
Stephens recorded its first goal, first multi-goal game and its first win this season. Coach Xander Kennedy attributed these accomplishments to his new players as well as the growth that he observed in the returning players.
"We were able to add some nice talent to the team," Kennedy said. "I'd say our player of the year was Kenzie (Andrade) who was a new transfer student. Certainly we still have a significant need to improve upon some fundamentals, but we didn't have to start as much from scratch as we did last year."
Andrade, a captain for the Stars, finished with three goals on the season, including two in the team's win over Faith Baptist Bible College. She said she came into the season with no expectations but was happy with how her team came together.
"I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn't expect to win a game or even come close to that," Andrade said. "To actually win and score more than a goal, whereas last year they didn't score any, that's pretty impressive. The way that we got there was just a lot of determination."
Andrade said that win was a motivator for the team and that, going into next season, Stephens will be ready to achieve more.
"Winning's not everything but to come this far was an amazing feeling," Andrade said. "Even so much to look at the girls who were on the team last year and didn't get a single win and have them so excited was really cool."
Kennedy also expects the team to put up a bigger fight next year and wants to build up expectations among his players.
"If you'd asked me in August would I be satisfied with scoring a good handful of goals and having a victory, that would've been a good outlook on the season," Kennedy said. "My personal goal for the future would be to be more competitive in the majority of our matches."
This season was a big stepping stone for Stephens soccer. Despite the difficulties, Kennedy says that he and his players should be proud to have been a part of this team.
"There were many days, many matches, where you're standing on the sideline watching goal after goal slip through, and, on those days, it was a little more difficult to feel positive about the state of Stephens college soccer," Kennedy said. "But if I'm 60-years-old and looking back on my life's accomplishments, being the coach of the team that won the first soccer game at Stephens, that's a good year."
Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.