Calvin Wetzel | Assistant Sports Editor
The Wheaton Thunder women’s soccer team kicked off the CCIW season last Saturday, Sept. 29, with a victory over the Vikings of North Park University. Wheaton scored five of their six goals in the first half en route to a 6-0 blowout over their conference foe.
The Thunder have traditionally been one of the top conference contenders, and they enter this conference season as two-time defending CCIW regular season champions. The team understands the importance of winning the conference regular season title and securing home field advantage for the conference tournament.
“Starting the conference season is always a fun time because every team has a clean slate, and any team can be a surprise,” senior midfielder Laura Karsten said. “Going into the first game against North Park we definitely wanted to make a statement and to play good Wheaton soccer.”
Junior attacker Leah DeMoss put the Thunder ahead in the sixth minute when she beat her defender to sophomore midfielder Alexa Sharkey’s cross and put it in for her 11th score this year. Six minutes later, the Thunder struck again as senior midfielder Keri Shannon found the back of the net to double her squad’s lead. Less than a minute after Shannon’s goal, Karsten landed a shot from 25 yards out for Wheaton’s third goal.
In the 22nd minute, Wheaton increased the lead to 4-0 as sophomore forward Sarah Guidera headed in DeMoss’s corner kick. With 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Sharkey converted a Guidera assist for Wheaton’s fifth score. Up 5-0 at halftime, the Thunder were not finished. Eight minutes into the second half, Shannon passed a through ball to freshman forward Ally Witt, who took the ball and snuck it in the bottom corner of the net for her sixth goal of the season. The goal put the Thunder ahead 6-0, which would remain the score for the rest of the contest.
Wheaton outshot North Park 33-5 and had a 16-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Thunder attempted nine corner kicks, while the Vikings did not attempt a corner kick in the match. North Park goalie Katie Ibarra registered ten saves and allowed six goals, while Thunder senior keeper Hilary Barreto recorded two saves and earned the shutout.
Wheaton continued their strong conference play on Wednesday, Oct. 3, with a 4-0 shutout victory over Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisc.
Guidera got Wheaton on the board early over Carthage in the 11th minute by powering a shot from 25 yards out on the ground that got by the keeper for the 1-0 lead. DeMoss followed four minutes later when she took a pass from Shannon and touched it across the end line and into the goal for the 2-0 advantage. Wheaton carried that advantage into the half, outshooting the Lady Reds 10-0 in the opening frame.
The Thunder scored twice more in the second half, taking advantage of defensive gaps in the 56th minute when Witt collected a cross while unguarded and rolled it over the stripe for a 3-0 lead. Guidera scored her second goal of the game with just under 17 minutes left with a shot into the side net to make it 4-0.
Wheaton improved to 9-2-0 on the year and 2-0-0 in conference play, and the loss dropped North Park to 4-6-0 and 0-1-0 in the CCIW. The Thunder will square off against Trinity University this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Joe Bean Stadium as part of homecoming weekend. Monday night, Oct. 8, they will face Concordia-Moorhead at home at 7:00 p.m. before traveling to Naperville on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to continue CCIW play against the Cardinals of North Central College. All three games will be broadcast live on WETN 8.1 FM and online at www.wetn.org.
File Photo and Banner credit: Allison Freet
Printed in the October 5, 2012, issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to email@example.com.