Kennesaw State defeated Alabama A&M University in an 8-0 win Sunday afternoon, propelling the Owls to their best start since 2008.
Senior midfielder Shannon Driscoll led KSU with a hat trick and an assist. Other scorers included Abby Roth, Brittney Reed, Jessica Sexton and Kim Fincher. Sexton notched her first goal as an Owl, while Fincher found the goal twice.
From the start, KSU pressured the AAMU defense with aggressive long passes through their back line. KSU had plenty of fast break opportunities that afforded them chances for one-on-ones with the goalkeeper as well as easy shots.
Early in the mid-afternoon match, the Owls saw two great scoring opportunities go awry. An AAMU defender kicked away one shot at the goal line, and Sexton missed a pass just inches in front of her outstretched foot while in the box.
KSU’s rampant scoring began in the 16th minute by defender Abby Roth’s patient strike off of an AAMU goalkeeper’s punch-out in the box. That goal was quickly followed by an easy tap into a wide open goal for midfielder Brittney Reed in the 21st minute.
Forward Kim Fincher notched back-to-back goals in the 24th and 36th minutes off of assists from Monica Herrera and Shannon Driscoll, respectively. Fincher paid Driscoll back with a through-ball into the box, allowing her to get by a lone AAMU defender for the Owls’ final goal of the first half.
Ten minutes into the second half, Sexton scored her first goal as an Owl on an assist from freshman midfielder Morgan Harrison.
Driscoll rounded out the 8-0 victory with an unassisted goal in the 81st minute with a nicely bent ball around the AAMU goalkeeper. She scored another just six minutes later off of a feed from midfielder Isabella Contreras.
The Owls totaled 27 shots with 21 of them on goal. In addition to those shots, the Owls piled up six assists and ten corner kicks. Head coach Benji Walton was pleased with the eye-popping numbers from his now 3-0-1 squad. This victory marked the 100th win of his career.
“Our spacing this week has been all we’ve really been talking about,” Walton said. “We’ve been playing with a lot more rhythm the past two games and that just kind of carried over.”
Freshmen Charlotte Rindt, Emely Sosa, Morgan Harrison and Raegan Peters all saw playing time. Peters had three shots on goal, Sosa attempted two shots and Harrison gathered an assist.
“[The freshmen are] starting to make a lot of progress and we’re getting some contributions from them,” Walton said. “We’re going to need them down the road, so it’s good to have a game like this where they can go out there and make some mistakes and learn from them.”
Despite the win and the best start in 11 years, Walton insists the team has to keep its composure.
“We’ve got to stay humble,” Walton said. “I told them not to be satisfied. We’ve got to pick up where we left off and build and get better.”
KSU now faces a five-game road trip to Western Carolina, UNC Asheville, Georgia Southern, the University of Georgia and Samford.
The Owls won’t play at home again until Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. against Winthrop University.