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Warrior gives it the old college try

By Luke Zacharias

College is a wonderful time for students to branch out, explore their interests, and try new things. When junior Stephen Jenkins, a member of the men’s soccer team, thought about what his third season would be look like, he envisioned scoring a couple goals and dishing out assists for his teammates. However, things don’t always go according plan.

During his athletic career at Waldorf, Jenkins has spent the majority of his time playing forward, and a little bit of midfield, scoring goals and helping his teammates score goals. This past week against Morningside College, Jenkins went from producing goals, to preventing goals by starting his first collegiate game at goalie.

The daunting task of playing goalkeeper fell to Jenkins when there were no other goalies on roster available to compete. The everyday goalie, Erubey Ponce, picked up a red card in the previous match against Dordt College when he collided with an opposing forward while attempting to secure the ball in play. Because of the red card, Ponce was forced to sit out on a one game suspension per the NAIA rules. Kurtis Aguilar, Ponce’s backup, was not available to play because of personal matters.

At the next practice Coach Michael Wilson asked his team if any of them wanted to try playing in net. Jenkins, half-joking and half-serious, said he would put on the gloves if nobody else wanted to. “Coach Wilson needed someone to step in for Erubey. I’ve never played goalie before, but I felt that I could give it my best effort for the team,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins faced a pretty steep learning curve with only a couple days in between contests. “I got a lot of bruises in my first practice at goalie from diving to the ground a lot, and I also received a lot of advice from both Erubey and the coaching staff,” Jenkins said.

“Coach Wilson’s game plan was for our defensive to come out with very high intensity so that very few shots would be available,” Jenkins said.

The Warriors started the game on a strong note exhibiting very intense defensive pressure while moving the ball well on offense. Their early efforts were rewarded when senior Steven Shelly put away a pass from Robert Serrano in the first 10 minutes for a quick 1-0 lead. Although the Warriors were near perfect defensively, an errant foul led to a penalty kick that had the game all tied up at 1-1 by halftime.

“I got caught off guard during the penalty,” said Jenkins. “I was leaning one way, and he just put it perfectly into the opposite side; there was nothing I could do.”

The second half was more of the same defensive battle, neither team wanting to concede the game winning goal, but rather score it themselves.

The game winning goal didn’t happen until late in the second half when a Morningside forward found some space off of a corner kick and put it away for a 2-1 lead.

“We had a little bit of confusion on that corner kick,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t communicate properly, the ball bounced around in our box, and the next thing I knew the ball was in the back of the net.”

“Overall, I think we played a great game defensively, but it was a couple miscues that did us in,” said Jenkins. “I had fun playing goalie, it was a new experience, but I’d feel more comfortable with Erubey in net.”

With the loss, Waldorf falls to 1-2 on the season. With the win, Morningside opens their season with a 1-0 mark.

The Warriors next home game is September 9 when they will host Briar Cliff University.