(COTTLEVILLE, MO) After being shut out at their season opener last weekend, the St. Louis Lions women’s outdoor soccer team rebounded and gained their first-ever points of their inaugural Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) campaign.
Lions WPSL claimed a 2-0 victory over Des Moines Menace Sunday afternoon at Tony Glavin Soccer Complex. This follows their 1-1 stalemate collected in Kansas City the night prior against KC Courage.
The four points claimed within the less than 24-hour sprint saw St. Louis (1-1-1) move to sole possession of third place in the five-team WPSL Heartland Conference.
“It feels good to finally get that first win,” said midfielder Allison Verville, who scored the two goals netted at Sunday’s triumph. “We’ve been waiting for it. We got the first one and now we can get some more.”
In Saturday’s road game at Kansas City, St. Louis possessed a 1-0 lead thanks to Maddie Pokorny’s goal six minutes in. Unfortunately for the green clads at the 82nd minute, the Courage scored the equalizer that resulted in the inevitable tie.
To see two precious points slip away late was frustrating for the Lions and they were not about to see a similar fate occur some fifteen hours later at their Cottleville pitch.
“We were mad,” reflected Lions goalie Olivia Silverman on the letdown. “We tied (Kansas City) in a game that we should have won.”
That Lions anger turned into danger for Des Moines in Sunday’s sweat-soaked showdown. St. Louis set the tone with their pressure placed on Des Moines goalie Maggie Smither.
“We talked about coming out and raising the level high at the very beginning,” said Verville. “That’s how you get teams going down and you just keep fighting through the game and hopefully hold that.”
That and taking advantage of golden opportunities when presented. At 9:30, St. Louis was presented with a penalty kick after Verville was tripped from twelve yards out.
On the restart, Verville launched a shot directly at Smither that caromed off her hands and dribbled directly in front of the advancing midfielder. A right-footed tap easily went right of the downed goalie and made its way to the back of the net which gave the Lions a 1-0 advantage at the 10-minute mark.
“Well, I didn’t even know I was going to take it,” said Verville smiling. “And then when I saw her touch it, I was like ‘Oh, no!’ Thank goodness I was able to get there and tap it in.”
If that would be considered luck, then the rest of the match was defined by skill set and, in this particular case, the defensive lockdown made by starting defenders Alli Klug, Bella Palazzolo, Madison Schmeid, Brittany Steiger as well as midfielders Pokorny, Christina Rodriguez, Courtney Reimer, Dani Pearce and forward Mackenzie Rief.
“Every game has gotten better and better which is really cool to see,” said Silverman of her sistren that only allowed two shots on the Lions’ net for the match.
The Lions scored the clincher at the 87th minute as Pearce’s corner kick made its way to Verville who booted it from five yards out for her second goal of the afternoon.
Silverman recorded her first career victory in the 2-0 final that added three points into their standings’ ledger.
St. Louis’ toughest challenge of the season thus far takes place this Wednesday in a 6:30 p.m. road match-up with Heartland Conference leader, and defending WPSL defending national champion Fire & Ice SC (2-0) at Althoff Catholic High School (Belleville, IL).
“They’re a great team but I think we’re also very good all-around,” said Silverman. “I think it will be a great match-up and a good test for us, but I think it will also be a good test for them. It’s a challenge and we’re up for it.”
The quad’s next game at their Cottleville field is on Sunday, June17 versus Kansas City Athletics WPSL. Tickets are $10 apiece for adults and $5 for children ages 6-18.
Visit the team at their official website.