Chatham DeProspo’s historic goal lifts women 1-0 over Ole Miss
By Noah Allison
Freshman mid-fielder Chatham DeProspo’s goal in the 56th minute against Ole Miss was more than just the game winner. It was more than the historic first goal in the grandiose Lynn Stadium. It was a glimpse into the bright future in store for this young Louisville soccer team.
With their 1-0 victory over Ole Miss Friday night, Karen Ferguson-Dayes’ women improved their overall record to 2-1. Last year’s team graduated nine impactful seniors, leaving plenty of room for youth to be had this season.
Among this year’s team, senior forward Erin Yenney and sophomore goalkeeper Paige Brown are the only players with past starting experience. Of the other nine players on the starting line-up, five are freshman and two are transfers.
“We are very, very young and there were far less growing pains tonight with some of the younger players which certainly allowed us to have the success that we had,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “After we got a rhythm and kind of slowed things down, connected in transition then I thought we were the better team for significant portions of the game.”
Ole Miss came out aggressive, but Louisville weathered the early storm and eased into the game. Midway through the first half opportunities started to arise but capitalizing on the chances proved to be a problem.
“I think we created a ton of chances in the first half but couldn’t finish and the second half I think we were a little better through the midfield that allowed us to get some better chances,” Ferguson-Dayes said.
Ferguson-Dayes made up for the lack of on-field experience with constant substitutions. The biggest being the substitution of sophomore, Kari Weinland, in for senior Erin Yenney, 10 minutes into the second half; seconds later, Weinland with the ball out wide crossed it into the middle for DeProspo’s finish in goal.
“You get to take a player on the sideline and show them what you want them to do,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “We had talked about winning the ball in transition and getting it wide. The early service was in and we had talked about that all week in practice. Kari plays a great ball in to Chatham and that’s a clinical finish. She’s exceptionally technical, that’s a difficult ball to finish; that’s a nice piece of skill.”
Despite her sophomore youth, goalkeeper Paige Brown brings a load of experience and stability to her team. Her warrior like mentality in goal sets the tone for the fight the Cards enter. Paige had three official saves Friday night, but more than a few times ran out to meet the opposing forward one-on-one and dive onto and smother the ball before they had a chance to finish.
“Paige was absolutely fantastic in goal for us,” Ferguson-Dayes exclaimed. “She’s just trusting her instincts and going after the ball. Ridiculously athletic, but now she’s kind of matched that with some of the timing and reading the game and that’s why she’s able to have a good game.”
The team effort prevailed in the Cards home opener, but DeProspo’s single efforts can’t be understated. The freshman starting midfielder was one of few players to never be subbed out. Her skill and knowledge of the game makes her one of the most important young players on this young team.
Her work ethic paid off, and years from now the history books will still show that her goal was the first in this new era of Louisville soccer.
“Coach believed in us. She always told us to focus on the moment, focus on the ball so everything around me was irrelevant at the time and I just kept my mind on getting the ball in the net,” DeProspo recalled. “It hasn’t really hit me yet, I don’t know how to put in words. Honestly, its the most amazing feeling, it really is; its one to remember forever.”