Women's Soccer |
Oct. 13, 2010
By Jeff Geiser
If the University of Cincinnati women's soccer team's 3-2 Senior Day, overtime victory over Villanova at Gettler Stadium on Sunday taught us anything, it's that this team has a flare for the dramatic.
While trailing 2-0 at intermission despite outshooting `Nova 11-7, Bearcats head coach Michelle Salmon challenged her team to create a memorable outcome as it continued to relentlessly attack the Wildcats.
"We came in at halftime down 2-0 and I said, `Listen, I don't want this to go down as a team that I believe more in you than you do yourselves. You guys will win this game if you simply come out and execute, because you're all over them. It's going to be a great story 10 years from now,'" Salmon said, referring to the program's recent 30-year anniversary celebration.
The team took her challenge to heart, outshooting Villanova 17-4 in the second half. However, UC was still down 2-0 with less than 10 minutes to go. After Jazmine Rhodes scored in the 82nd minute to bring the Bearcats to within one, UC needed someone else to step up and make a game-changing play.
Following a script straight out of Hollywood, with 52 seconds remaining in her final game at Gettler, senior forward Kendall Loggins nailed a penalty kick to send the game into overtime.
"It was awesome. I really couldn't have asked for a better Senior Day game," Loggins said. "It started out a little slow, but the finish was amazing. Scoring in overtime felt so good and putting in that penalty kick was really cool. I was a little nervous, but after I scored it was worth it."
If Loggins really was nervous, it was news to spectators. The Naperville, Ill. native is known by her teammates to have a strong poker face.
"She's very calm. She's got a great sense of humor about her. I don't think I've ever seen Kendall mad," said Salmon. "She's the most even-keeled player I've ever coached. She's always the same."
Goals have been hard to come by this year for Loggins. The theatrical penalty kick against Villanova was just her third of the year, after the 2009 season saw her finish second on the team with 13 points on the strength of six goals and one assist.
"It was frustrating at first because I didn't score until the Louisville game," said Loggins. "I've had chances; they just weren't going my way. So it's nice to finally put a couple in. Last year I had a lot more of them go my way. Hopefully, I'll get a couple more before the season ends."
Loggins, a sports administration major who has interned in UC's Athletic Compliance Office, has aspirations of working for a pro sports franchise near her hometown.
"The Blackhawks would be my first choice," Loggins said. "But I'd definitely like working with any of them, like the Bulls, even the Chicago Fire - the MLS team; that would be pretty fun. So that's what I would want to do eventually, but we'll see what happens."
Salmon is appreciative of Loggins and her roommate Sydney Barker, the only other senior on the team.
"Their legacy for this program is that they want to win a BIG EAST Championship," Salmon said. "And they want to put the program in position win a BIG EAST Championship. And they would tell you when I got here the program was not in position to contend for a BIG EAST Championship. At the end of the day, I'm really proud of what those guys have done for the program."
With just four games remaining on the schedule, the Bearcats are in a tight race with several other teams to qualify for the conference tournament. And Loggins knows it's now or never for her collegiate soccer career.
"We just have to come out hard our last few games," said Loggins. "We have to beat everyone else, but I think it's definitely possible with South Florida, Marquette, Rutgers and Seton Hall. I think it's really doable. Now we just have to come out hard and finish those games like we finished the game (Sunday)."