BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Quincy University women's soccer coach Marc Hager said he had an ongoing conversation with midfielder Baylee Smith about her corner kicks throughout Thursday's season opener against Southwest Baptist.
"She was having trouble finding her range," Hager said.
But she knew she needed to dial it in when the Hawks earned a corner kick with 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
"My other ones were all over the place," Smith said. "I kind of said, ‘OK, maybe I can put this one in there.'"
Smith put it in the best possible spot. Her corner kick found senior forward Cassidy Foley in the middle of the box, and Foley drove home the header for the first goal of the season and a 1-0 victory in Hager's debut as head coach.
"I'll know right when it leaves my foot if it's a good one," Smith said. "That one felt good. It was a beautiful header and a great goal."
The start of the game was delayed an hour because of lightning and inclement weather, and once play began, Southwest Baptist created some havoc. The Bearcats, who are coached by former QU assistant Megan Link, put four shots on goal in the first 18 minutes with freshman goalkeeper Emilee Autry making four saves.
The Hawks finally got their feet under them. QU had seven shots over the final 30 minutes of the half and eventually outshot SBU 20-8. The Hawks had 10 shots on goal, while the Bearcats failed to put a shot on goal the final 72 minutes.
"We figured out problems on our own as the first half went along and made adjustments," Hager said. "Our backs were good and our goalkeeper was great."
It allowed the offense to build an attack in the second half. With 31 minutes to play, Foley put a free kick over the crossbar from about 22 yards out. Three minutes later, junior defender Mo Rooney put a free kick from 35 yards out over the crossbar. The pressure led to seven corner kicks overall and five in the second half.
The second to last one was the best.
"We saw all the hard work we put in pay off," Smith said. "It feels great."
It will be memorable for Hager, too.
"It's a great feeling personally and collectively," Hager said.
Quincy 1, Southwest Baptist 0
20 Shots 8
4 Saves 9
7 Corners 5
15 Fouls 10
0 Offsides 0
Quincy 0 1--1
Southwest Baptist 0 0--0
Q--Cassidy Foley (Baylee Smith), 79:00