The Denison women's soccer team opened the 2014 season with a convincing 6-1 victory over Adrian on Friday night in Granville.
Friday's performance marked just the third time in program history that the Big Red scored at least six goals in a season opener. The last came in a 2006 victory over Olivet, while the first was an 11-3 decision over Mount St. Joseph in 1982. Additionally, the six goals marked the most since a 7-1 victory at Kalamazoo on Sept. 27, 2008.
After generating four shots over the first 23+ minutes, Denison broke through for the first goal of 2014 at 23:37 when sophomore Ashlyn Flaherty ripped a shot past Bulldog keeper Lexi Lewandowski from roughly 10 yards out. Classmate Jessica Skelly earned an assist on the goal after clearing the ball out of a scrum inside the box.
DU doubled its leads roughly 20 minutes later on a play that was started by Flaherty in the defensive third. The sophomore transfer touched a ball to sophomore Naomi Barker who received the pass in stride as she sprinted down the left sideline. Barker entered the box and lifted a beautiful back-post cross that was knocked in by junior captain Andrea Witte.
In the second half, the Big Red attack needed just 6:08 to add another tally on the scoreboard. Roughly 10 seconds after entering the game, freshman Drew Wentzel found the back of the net for the first time in her collegiate career. After settling a one-touch pass from Meg Wozniak, Wentzel fired a shot into the lower left 90 past Lewandowski.
In the 66th minute, sophomore Clare Culligan sent in a cross that was played towards the back post by senior Caitlin Cheverine. Junior Keara Kilbane boxed out her defender, spun around and roped a shot past the diving Lewandowski.
The final three goals of the game came in the last 10 minutes of play. Sophomores Hannah Randolph and Jacquie Graham teamed up for a score when Graham redirected a Randolph cross into the back of the net. Denison's shutout bid was broken up when Emily Theisen floated a ball that just fell under the crossbar in the 87th minute. Wentzel notched her first multi-goal performance after converting a penalty kick with 1:01 left in regulation.
Denison outshot Adrian 28-11, including a 15-6 advantage in shots on net. The two teams combined for just six fouls, while the Big Red attempted twice as many corner kicks (4-2). Flaherty paced DU with five shots, while Witte and Wentzel each had four. In her collegiate debut, Denison goalie Jenny Herold made five stops in 90 minutes. Her counterparts, Lewandowski and Taylor Royce combined for nine saves.
With the win, the Big Red starts the season with a 1-0 record, while the Bulldogs fall to 0-1. Denison returns to the pitch on Saturday when they host Manchester University at Barclay-Thomsen Field. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.