Northwest soccer

Freshamn goalkeeper Alexis Serna Castillo has given up 19 goals this season, saving 42 shots.

Northwest soccer’s slump continued over the weekend as it suffered losses to Nebraska-Kearney Oct. 5 and Fort Hays State Oct. 7 by scores of 1-0 and 3-0, respectively.

The games were the latest in a series of defeats for the Bearcats, punctuating what has been a season-long slump. Northwest (1-10, 0-5 MIAA) has not won since its opening match against William Jewell Aug. 30.

Over the past few weeks, the state of the team, at least on paper, has degenerated from bad to worse. The Bearcats have scored just two goals in the last calendar month, a stretch that includes eight games.

“We haven’t scored a goal in four games,” coach Marc Gordon said. “It’s not a curse; it’s going to breakthrough. We’re working on the things we need to in training to break through. It’s not going to be luck. It’s going to be through our efforts.”

The statistics and record paint the picture of a team that is not well, one that has lost hope. For Northwest, the opposite is true. The Bearcats have continued to bring energy and effort to each practice and game, refusing to lose hope in their season.

“Our spirit is still strong,” Gordon said. “Being 1-10, sometimes people walk away, but no one’s done that. Everybody’s still focused … We’re doing the right things in training, the attitude is right-- the ball’s just not going our way.”

Despite carrying a 1-10 record and despite being buried in their conference, the Bearcats press on. In the midst a slump that could’ve ripped hope from even the strongest of teams, Northwest refuses to lose optimism.

“It just seems like we’ve grown so much as a team,” junior forward Gloria Hanrahan said. “Even though the results aren’t showing that, I think we’re headed in the right direction, and things will start for falling for us soon.”

For one more week, the schedule moves on. The Bearcats will take on Missouri Southern (6-4-2, 2-2-1 MIAA) and Southwest Baptist (0-10-2) in the coming week. With six games left in the season, Gordon is taking each one as it comes. The coach drew comparisons from Missouri Southern, a program that is in the early stages of a rebuild, to his own team.

“Who knows what can happen in six games,” Gordon said. “Southern is playing really well. It’s kind of been a culture change down there, and about six games ago, things really started to swing for them.”

The Bearcats will travel south to look for a breakthrough of their own, though they have no specific purpose or end. They are a rebuilding team, with success coming in the form of progress, rather than the win column.

“I just want us to kind of forget everything that’s happened so far and just take it game by game,” Hanrahan said. “I think it’s important that we go out there and know that we can win and that we can put goals away. We need to start believing in each other and believing in ourselves.”

For Gordon, the season has been a letdown, but the perseverance of his players has been uplifting. He is hopeful for the future, this season and beyond.

“It’s refreshing that it matters to them still,” Gordon said. “They haven’t just hung up the boots and written off this season. My heart breaks right now for our seniors. It’s a building block, it’s something you always try to remember, and you honor those that were apart of this by being more productive going forward.”

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