OTTAWA — Even though when the final whistle blew Tuesday night, the scoreboard at King Field read "Geneseo 7, Ottawa 1," Lady Pirates soccer coach Sean Porter was happy with his team’s performance against one of the state’s top girls soccer programs.
“I have a lot of respect and give a lot of credit to our players,” Porter said. “We played with a lot of heart and grit and played with a lot of intensity for most of the game. A contest is often against two teams, and you also have to realize a contest is also a chance to assess where you are as a program.”
In fact, Porter noted after the game that the matchup between the two Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference teams featured two firsts in Lady Pirates girls soccer history.
Tuesday’s game saw the first time that Ottawa was able to, as Porter put it, “go the distance” against Geneseo, meaning a game where the running-clock rule wasn’t used.
The second first came in the 53rd minute when Kaitlin Falaney scored the program’s first ever goal against the Lady Leafs. Katie McGraw was credited with an assist as the Lady Pirates cut their deficit to 2-1.
Geneseo (8-1, 4-0) started to slowly pull away after that goal, scoring five times over the final 27 minutes of the match.
It was 3-1 even before the 53rd minute was done, as Rachael Daniels scored an unassisted goal. The Lady Leafs tallied goals in the 69th and 70th minutes, those courtesy of freshman Taylor DeSplinter, who notched her second and third goals of the night.
“In the second half we got back to our style of game, which is possession,” said Geneseo head coach Harvey Morton. “We tried to play people in and be aggressive to the ball. We were laying back and not hitting feet in the first half.
"We corrected a few things and some shots went into the net, and that changes a lot.”
DeSplinter opened her scoring account in the 28th minute to break open a 0-0 deadlock.
The Lady Pirates are now 3-2-1 overall, 1-1 in Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference competition.