Stephens College soccer wins first season opener

Friday, August 29, 2014 | 9:21 p.m. CDT; updated 11:32 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Rachael Vilord.

COLUMBIA — They didn't score once in 2012.

They only won once in 2013.

Friday, the Stephens College soccer team earned a winning record for the first time ever. The Stars defeated Faith Baptist Bible College 2-1 in the team's season opener.

Being over .500 for the first time in program history, head coach Xander Kennedy said he's excited about his team's progress.

"In year one, our closest game was a five-goal defeat," Kennedy said. "We were able to score goals last year. Today, we finally won our first game in front of the home fans."

Kennedy said he was nervous before the game Friday, not because it was the first game of the season, but because this is the first time he's had expectations for his team.

"It's just satisfying to see all these years of progression finally coming to fruition, which is really what we saw today," Kennedy said.

Freshman defender Rachael Vilord* and senior defender Kenzie Andrade led the Stars to the victory, scoring both goals in the first half. Faith Baptist scored on a penalty kick in the 57th minute, but Stephens held on for the win.

The biggest area of improvement, Kennedy said after Friday's game, is improving possession. He wants to see the team become more possession-oriented and doesn't want the players to feel as if they have to always move the ball forward.

Kennedy's other concern Friday was the weather. He said it was fortunate the rain stopped because it hindered the Stars' performance early in the game, keeping the team from controlling possession.

"We never practiced in conditions similar to today," Kennedy said. "They had to deal with everything out there today. Heavy rain, wind, extreme heat after the rain. It was all there."

While Kennedy acknowledged this is only one game, he said he's excited for the rest of the season.

"For the first time, I'm optimistic we can perform well," Kennedy said. "We keep growing and improving, and I do think we're more talented this year than in years past."

Stephens' next game is at 1 p.m. Wednesday at MacMurray College.

Supervising editor is Raymond Howze.

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Jesse Bishop August 29, 2014 | 10:52 p.m.

Congrats to Stephens for their first win ever since 2013.

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