Hanging onto a 1-0 lead shortly after halftime against Williams Baptist University, Columbia College women’s soccer got some breathing room on a goal from freshman Emilia Zolesio Fernandez Blanco, the first of her collegiate career.
The Cougars got a little more breathing room when Jewel Morelan scored just over a minute later.
And even more when Allison Floyd found the back of the net 20 seconds after that.
In less than a minute and a half, the game had gone from tight to out of reach. The avalanche of goals kept coming for the Cougars (2-0, 1-0 American Midwest Conference) as they rolled over WBU (0-2, 0-1 AMC) 8-0.
“Maybe we would panic early,” Columbia coach John Klein said. “In the first half we would just send that ball in as soon as we had an opportunity, but there was more space to get carried a little closer to the goal, look for something a little more high-percentage and that’s what happened in the second half. We were just better at making things happen down inside 18 yards from their goal.”
Columbia picked up its only first-half goal 12 minutes into the game. Morelan missed a shot high off the crossbar, but Mallory Holzer was right on top of the rebound for a quick 1-0 lead.
It was Morelan’s first time on the stat sheet in what would be a productive day for her, even given Columbia’s team dominance. She scored twice during the Cougars’ second-half barrage and had six shots on goal.
“She was one on the wing that was really effective,” Klein said. “She started to beat their outside back consistently in the second half and whether she got the goal or she started the play and got it into the corner and opened them up a little bit, she was very effective on the dribble today.”
Even before scoring, Columbia sustained plenty of offensive pressure, peppering WBU goalkeeper Paige Carlyle throughout the game. The Cougars finished with 37 shots. WBU had three.
“I think the shot count showed that we controlled the match pretty well, but it’s always important to get that first goal,” Klein said. “You never know.”
Up 4-0, Delfina Zolesio Fernandez Blanco, the twin of Emilia, matched her sister’s output with a goal of her own. Columbia finished the domination with goals from Chloe Hall and Abigail Meyer, along with Morelan’s second.
In Columbia men’s soccer’s first game of the season against Bellevue University, the Cougars offense was near-nonexistent in the 1-0 loss.
Against Williams Baptist University (1-1, 0-1 AMC) the offense was again tepid at best.
But this time, it didn’t matter. Columbia (1-1, 1-0 AMC) stymied WBU’s attack and was able to make a lone goal hold up for a 1-0 win.
“We were pretty sound defensively, but soccer could be better,” Klein said. “I think we’re still putting that part together, connected passes, keeping possession and finding our way in behind their defenses.”
For much of the first half, the Eagles’ aggressive defense frustrated Columbia. WBU’s forwards smothered the Columbia defenders as they tried to get the ball past midfield.
“We need to be much more creative in the attack,” Klein said. “We need to possess the ball a little better. And we have dangerous players. I think it will come. I think we have really a lot of depth and that’s causing a little bit of the problem. We’ve got to decide who goes where and where you’re going to be most effective.”
Columbia finally got on the board when Joey Spotanski scored the team’s first goal of the season with 39 seconds left in the first half, sending the Cougars to the sidelines with the lead and some ever-so-brief momentum.
“Maybe we had it for the first 10 minutes of the second half, 10 to 15,” Klein said. “And then I kinda think they took it from us.”
Midfielder Lesia Thetsane was a steadying presence for much of the afternoon, weathering the Eagles’ attacks and keeping play in the WBU zone, even while playing on the left side instead of his usual spot in the middle of the field. He was also credited with the assist on Spotanski’s goal.
“Lesia was solid all night,” Klein said. “He played strong at that left back.”
The Cougars’ next game will be Sept. 26 against University of Health Science and Pharmacy.