BEAVERCREEK — Already up by a wide margin, Beavercreek senior co-captain Ashley Mundey was about to kick a second-half corner kick from the right side when a fan suggested that she kick the ball to Beavers teammate Lexie Ulrich.
Mundey’s kick found Ulrich’s foot practically in mid-kick out in front of the Xenia goal, and the ball bounded in for Beavercreek’s seventh and final goal of Monday’s season opener at Frank Zink Field. It was that kind of night for the Beavers in their 7-0 win, where everything they tried seemed to work and nothing seemed to go wrong.
Beavercreek played the game on Xenia’s half of the pitch for much of the contest. The Beavers (1-0) launched 40 shots on Xenia goalkeeper Keni Brown, who was making her starting debut. Brown stopped 33 of them.
Unofficially, Lexie Ulrich finished with two first-half goals, and then the corner kick conversion off Mundey’s pass in the second — to lead Beavercreek in scoring. She also had an assist. Her sister, freshman Taylor Ulrich scored a goal, Mundey scored once and had a pair of assists, and Ally Applin knocked in a pair of goals.
“The players prepared well for the game. We’ve been working hard throughout the preseason, and I just think they were looking forward to getting out and getting the season started. They played pretty strong tonight,” said Beavercreek coach Steve Popp.
“We think another player might’ve knocked in one of Lexie’s goals, so they should be credited with that one. And Taylor scored as well, so it was a good scoring night for the two sisters. Both did a really good job, and the team played pretty hard throughout the match,” added Popp.
The Beavers led 3-0 at halftime, and Xenia appeared to have figured out a solid defense against Beavercreek in the early part of the second half. But then Beavercreek scored its final four goals in the match’s last 16 minutes of play to put things out of reach.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game for us, but I don’t think any coach expects to have his team lose 7-0,” said Xenia coach Jim Lamb. We’re not really young, but we are inexperienced. And so for us to get thrown into a match with a solid team like Beavercreek right away, that’s pretty tough. It’s hard to gain much experience against one of the top teams in the area.”
The game’s outcome could’ve been by a wider margin, were it not for the solid play in goal by Xenia’s Keni Brown. Lamb said Brown had been playing as the team’s back-up keeper in years past, and so Brown was making her starting debut Monday night.
She might still be seeing soccer balls flying towards her today. In a stellar effort, Brown snared 33 saves in the loss.
“She has been our back-up for the past few years, but she played very well tonight. She did a great job out there for us,” Lamb said.
Xenia (0-1) will have played four solid Greater Western Ohio Conference opponents from out of its conference in 10 days. Beavercreek, Sidney, Wayne and Centerville finished with a combined overall record of 43-18-13 last season. The Buccaneers will host Sidney on Wednesday at Cox Stadium.
Beavercreek next heads to Dublin Jerome on Saturday for a solid test as well.
“We’ve tied them the last two times we’ve played them, so we know we’re in for a pretty good battle,” Popp said.
(John Bombatch is sports editor for Greene County Newspapers.)