Bennett from the Bleachers: Stellar defense propelling 6th-ranked Stateswomen

Bennett Durando
Sports Columnist

BENNETT FROM THE BLEACHERSA year removed from coming oh-so-close to an elusive State title, the Stateswomen soccer team is back and as dominant as ever.

Webster has cruised through its competition so far this year, starting the season with a 19-2-1 stretch sparked by stifling defense and a rising star in goal, junior Megan McClure. The tremendous start has the Stateswomen ranked sixth in the area, according to stltoday.com.

That lockdown defense, a trademark of Chris Allen teams, has put up unreal numbers this season. In 22 games, Webster has allowed seven goals, three of them coming in the team’s lone pair of losses, a 2-1 defeat in penalty kicks to Rockwood Summit and a 1-0 loss to Eureka.

The other 20 games have been nearly spotless for the Stateswomen. A nine-game shutout streak started the year before the loss at Summit; Webster then posted seven more consecutive clean sheets before allowing the other two goals in a 3-2 victory over Triad on April 25.

The grand total so far is 17 shutouts. In 22 games.

The only other game in which the Stateswomen came short of victory was another one of those shutouts, a scoreless draw at Fort Zumwalt East. In total, Webster has outscored their opponents 62-7. And no, that’s not a typo.

They’ve done all of this after the loss of a record-setting Class of 2015 that included forward Maddie Pokorny, who now plays D-1 soccer at SLU.

However, when holes needed to be filled, Webster was up to the challenge of filling them to the brink. Freshman forward Gretchen Skoglund has led the team with 15 goals. Senior Emma Lieb, who is committed to play college soccer at Missouri State, has added 11, and Arkansas-Little Rock bound junior Jacqueline Baetz has 10 assists to lead the team.

Best of all, McClure, an Arkansas State commit, has kept up the dominance in goal after the loss of 2015 graduate Charlotte Kennedy, making 115 saves so far for a 95 percent save rate.

Pokorny and Kennedy led the team to the Final Four before Notre Dame de Sion buried the Stateswomen in the State semifinal on a goal with six minutes left. Webster ultimately earned third place in the state.

This time, there’s reason to believe that Webster could make it all the way to the top.



Categories: Column, Sports

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