Cayman Select Women blanked in exhibition

Cayman Islands Select

Cayman Islands Select

The Cayman Islands Select Women’s football team was shutout as it lost an exhibition match on against a visiting team from Ohio Wesleyan University on Tuesday, 9 August at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

An Ohio Wesleyan strike that hit the crossbar in the 7th minute was the first good scoring opportunity of the game but the ball ricocheted back into play. Three minutes later, Cayman Islands forward Chelsea Brown missed from close range, although it was not the best of looks.

Susani McLaughlin was impressive for the hosts.

Susani McLaughlin was impressive.

It was not until the 38th minute that the deadlock was broken when Kylie Shaw scored for the visitors. A minute later, Cayman’s keeper Jovanni Hessing allowed the ball to slip through her hands and between her legs from a shot from the boot of Emma Felty. That gave Ohio Wesleyan a 2-0 lead they would maintain through the second half. In the 55th, Shannelle Frederick might have thought for a split second that she might have opened the scoring for the hosts but a brilliant stop by MacKenzie Brunke ensured the clean sheet remained intact.

Cayman Islands Select coach Greg Ebanks assessed his team’s performance. “Particularly in midfield, we fell short. We had one of our key players in the previous game [Shanice Monteith], she had to leave with the Under-15 national team.”

Monteith is the manager of the team playing in the CONCACAF Under-15 Girls’ Championship in Orlando, Florida. “We miss that quality tonight from our team that Shanice usually delivers in making some good, penetrating passes. We fell short there,” Ebanks lamented.

Alyssa Giarusso started for OWU.

Alyssa Giarusso started for OWU.

“I think that was one of our downfalls tonight – not having someone to cater to the delivery of the strikers as we shared in the previous game,” he said, noting his side created more scoring opportunities in the first game two days earlier when they drew 2-2.

Cayman’s captain, Kayla Ebanks, was not entirely disappointed with the loss. “For a team that started to train a little over a month, I’d say we held our ground,” she told after the final whistle. “I think we started off a little slowly. When we got behind we started to pick up [our tempo].”

Meantime, OWU coach Nicole Ross was pleased with the result. “We played a really solid game. We made some adjustments from Sunday and I felt the girls really performed well and they played really hard,” she said.

“We looked at film and talked about things we wanted to improve on – attacking behind the defenders, winning balls in the air, playing tough and not mentally giving up when we are tired because it is hot and I think they really came through in all those areas.”

CI Select v OWU 2Haley Langhorne, who captained the visiting side said lessons learned from the first game paid dividends on Tuesday night.

“We did a lot better [than the first game]. We had one practice going into Sunday’s game. So, we had some key points we wanted to work on,” she said.

“The number one being communication and that was so much better, especially communicating when you are tired. It’s the hardest to communicate when you are tired but it’s so important and we did so much better. I think it showed because we did not die in the second half…It is really hard to play well when your team is tired but we stepped up and I think we did really well,” Langhorne told, adding she noticed the Cayman Select Team also played well in the second half.

That experience is something not lost on Kayla Ebanks. “It gives us overseas experience. We had younger player who are going overseas. This gives them a taste of how they play. They [Ohio Wesleyan] have great team spirit. They played till the end and that’s something our Caymanian players have to put into our game – to not stop until the end.”

Her coach also saw benefits of the exhibition. “This is an awesome opportunity to get experience and exposure. It is something they should embrace and spread the word about Cayman Islands women’s soccer and I’m sure the Wesleyan team really enjoyed it,” Greg Ebanks said.

Ross, too, was pleased to have the opportunity to train and play in Grand Cayman.  “We don’t get a lot of time together because we are a Division III school. I don’t get to see the players for about six months, so it’s a really unique opportunity and to do it in this beautiful island – to do great fun things off the field and play good competition on the field – it’s an unbelievable trip.”

The Ohio Wesleyan University visit continues with a beach football exhibition at Public Beach on Wednesday, 10 August at 5:45 p.m.

Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan University

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