When you are a young program, you are just not supposed to compete with high ranked teams.
Donâ€™t tell that to the Lady Griffonâ€™s though, because they just might surprise you.Â For their home opener Friday night the Griffons gave the University of Central Missouri Jennies (3-1-1 Overall, 1-0 MIAA) all they could handle before falling in extra time (2-1).
The Lady Griffons (1-4, 0-1 MIAA) led by a goal early in the game with a Meigan Soo goal in the 28th minute that trickled past Jennieâ€™s goalie Shannon Ponche. It was her third of the season.
After their defense had survived some serious attacks in the first half, a reinvigorated Griffons team controlled the game from midfield until Jennieâ€™s midfielder Carrie Twellman broke loose and scored on her own put back with a minute left in the first half.
Head Coach of the Lady Griffons, Jeff Hansen, attributed this to the Jennieâ€™s putting as many people forward as possible.
â€œTheir strength is that they play with three fast forwards up top,â€ Hansen said. â€œThey had more shot chances and they played us hard up top.â€
The Jennies managed to take 26 shots while putting 12 on goal in the game while the Griffons only managed six with four on goal.
The Griffons kept the game tight with several defensive saves including a perfectly timed sliding tackle from defender Sarah Brimeyer in the 42nd minute that stopped an almost certain goal from Jennies forward Hazel Cox. The defense eventually broke down in the eighth minute of extra time when forward Melanie Hall broke free with a perfectly placed pass from Cox and buried a shot in the back of the net to end the game.
Hansen, the former UCM coach in his second year at MWSU, believes that this is an indication of things to come for his team.Â
â€œPeople have been asking me what I think. Theyâ€™ve been asking all week long if we can do something special,â€ said Hansen. â€œWe played with the thirteenth ranked team in the nation tonight with five freshmen (on the Griffons). These are girls who have been in school for barely two weeks and they are doing it. Youâ€™re going to have breakdowns, but all they had on us is two years.â€
The Griffons continue their campaign at home against Emporia State this Friday.
â€œYouâ€™re going to find an angry team, (but) in a good way,â€ said Hansen. â€œI told them that they played with one of the best teams in the conference and in the country, but I donâ€™t want them to settle for that.â€