(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – For just the second time in the program’s existence, Jennies soccer is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the United Coaches Soccer Poll.
The Jennies came into the season ranked No. 5, spent the second and third week of the season at No. 4, jumped to No. 3 the following week, and sat at No. 2 last week before ascending to the top of the rankings.
When examining how the Jennies claimed the top spot in the country, one fact sticks out right away: The Jennies have yet to be scored on through the first 12 games of the season.
If jumping to the top of the polls wasn’t enough for the Jennies, they also set the MIAA record this week following their latest set of shutouts. The Jennies set the MIAA record for consecutive shutouts after posting their 11th shutout in a row in a 3-0 victory over Central Oklahoma on Friday. Their record was extended to 12 just two days later following their 5-0 victory over Northeastern State.
The goalkeeper behind the streak has yet to change since last season. Ana Dilkes served as the Jennies’ goalie through the entirety of all 12 games this season. She set the MIAA record for consecutive goalkeeper shutouts, shattering the previous record of 10, set by Truman State’s Emily Huyck in 2000.
While the record is a groundbreaking feat for Dilkes, shutout victories are not new accomplishments for the senior goalkeeper. Dilkes’ shutout against Northeastern State brings her career total to 55. She is just five shy of breaking the Division II record set by Chelsea Parise of Grand Valley State in 2012.
Her list of accolades this season goes on: Dilkes has been named MIAA Goalkeeper of the Week every week since the start of the season. She also leads Division II with a perfect saves percentage and with zero goals allowed against this season.
Jennies Head Coach Lewis Theobald recognizes that Dilkes is an essential piece of the Jennies success, but he also says it was a team effort that made their season successful up to this point.
“For me, its not just the back line and not just Ana,” Theobald said. “I think it’s defending through the whole team. The front line is channeling and I think we showed some depth coming off the bench. So there’s a big commitment for everybody to defend and that’s limiting other teams’ opportunities.”
The Jennies are not only sound defensively throughout the team, but also are one of the top offenses in the country. The team’s average of four goals per game is the second most in Division II, trailing only Columbus State.
Seven different Jennies have four or more goals on the season. Abby Rhodes has nine goals and three assists, Jada Scott has scored eight times with three assists, Makayla Toth has seven goals, and Baylie Edwards has scored six. Kayla Hamner, Megan Woolley, and Mallory Broady each have four goals.
The Jennies look to remain on top of the polls and extend their shutout streak to 13 as they host Emporia State and Washburn this weekend. The game against Emporia State will take place at 7:00 p.m. Friday at the South Recreation Complex and the Jennies will face Washburn at 1:00 p.m. Sunday at the South Recreation Complex.