Two goals late in their Kansas Conference opener against York sent the Kansas Wesleyan women's soccer team to victory.
For first-year coach Joe Schwartz the tallies had significance beyond the final score. The Coyotes scored in the 70th and 85th minutes after being tied 1-1 at halftime.
"I think it showed the belief we have in our process," Schwartz said of KWU's 3-1 victory Wednesday night at JRI Stadium and the Graves Family Sports Complex. "It was really good to see a lot of the things that we've been working on in preparation for the game come into practice."When you play a team like that that's going to be really defensive it takes a lot of guts to keep going forward and try new things because they really pushed us to our limit today."
Maleia Jackson gave the Coyotes' a 1-0 lead with a goal in the fourth minute before the defenses settled in. York (1-4) scored the equalizer on Gracie Reynolds' goal just before halftime, in the 44th minute.
KWU peppered York's goal in the second half with no luck until Leoni Enzlmuller snuck a shot just inside the left post from the left side, the assist to Jackson making it 2-1. Graciela Lopez erased any suspense with her goal late in the match.
"We've been working on our runs to the box for the past two weeks pretty heavily and it's great to be rewarded," Schwartz said of Jackson's first goal of the season. "It was a great way to start the game for sure. We had a couple of other opportunities that we just missed."
Schwartz said he encourages his athletes to take a shot if they think it has a chance, which Enzlmuller did.
"Sometimes we wait for that perfect moment and that perfect moment never comes in a game," he said. "We have to create those moments and be brave enough to risk a shot."
KWU played well defensively the entire match. Goalkeeper Isabella Galvan finished with eight saves, seven in the first half.
"Wish we could have had a clean sheet but you can't have it all," Schwartz said.
Winning the conference opener is a good first step.
"It's huge," he said. "Nothing from last year matters. For instance last year York pretty sat in (defense) the whole game and didn't really try (to score). This year they recruited really well and you can see that with how they played and they're looking to go forward. They caused us a lot of problems. The conference is really competitive and it changes year to year. Everyone's even at the beginning of conference and has that hope that it's their year."
The Coyotes play KCAC newcomer Evangel at noon Saturday in Springfield, Mo. in their next match.