Pwls Can't Fly Past Coastal Carolina in Home Debut

KENNESAW, Ga. Playing its inaugural season, Kennesaw State is bound to establish firsts and records every time it steps onto the field. The Owls (0-4) created several when they played in front of the home crowd for the first time at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Saturday. Although Kennesaw State fell 21-12 to Coastal Carolina, the day proved memorable.

Before it lined up for the opening draw against Coastal Carolina (1-4), Kennesaw State already had established a program record. The 37-degree weather and snow flurries represented the coldest temperature the Owls have played in this season.

The cold weather did not seem to both freshman midfielder Senneca Ward (Peachtree City, Ga./McIntosh HS), who entered the contest as Kennesaw State's co-leader in scoring with four points. Ward easily surpassed that total as she scored six goals against the Chanticleers.

"Senneca did great. You can always trust her when she has the ball in her stick to make the right decision, whether it's a distribution or drive for herself," head coach Kristina Llanes said. "But more importantly Senneca is an all-around awesome player.

"She does well on the defensive end, offensive end, and in the midfield for us," Llanes added. "So I think her efforts on defense definitely fuel her fire on offense."

A record was set just 15 seconds into the game when Coastal Carolina's Kimmy DeLonge scored to give the Chanticleers a 1-0 lead. The advantage did not last long as freshman Taylor Southerland (Acworth, Ga./Harrison HS) tied the score 14 seconds later.

DeLonge's goal marked the quickest an opponent has scored to begin a game, while Southerland's score represented the earliest that the Owls have scored.

The two first-year programs played evenly throughout the first half and Coastal Carolina held an 11-8 advantage at the break. The Owls, however, were unable to keep pace in the second half as the Chanticleers outscored Kennesaw State, 10-4, in the second half.

The combined 33 goals marked the most in a Kennesaw State game and the 11 by the Owls are a season-high.

Despite the setback, playing on its home field for the first time was one of many positives the Owls were able to take away from the game.

"It was great. Our families and friends came out and supported us. We felt that on the sideline. That definitely gave us that little bit of extra boost that we need at points in the game," Llanes said. "There is such a thing as home field advantage and playing at Fifth Third Bank Stadium is an honor."

The Owls received scoring from four different players as Ward and Southerland were joined by junior midfielder Emily Collins (Snellville, Ga./Decatur HS), who scored a career-high four goals, and freshman attacker Jessica Alderdice (Cumming, Ga./South Forsyth HS), who tallied her first career score.

Kennesaw State has a two-week break before traveling to Rock Hill, S.C., on March 15 to face Winthrop beginning at 6:00 p.m. (ET).


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