TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman women’s soccer coach Amy Helliwell is riding a youth movement to what she hopes could produce a strong turnaround in this 2012 season.
It has so far.
Led by freshman Hayley Gilliam, a Zionsville native, the Engineers improved to 5-4-1 for the season with a dominant 3-0 victory against cross-county rival St. Mary-of-the-Woods College on Wednesday at Jim Rendel Field.
Gilliam scored two goals — her third and fourth of the season — to help Rose carry momentum into Saturday’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener against Bluffton.
“My teammates really set me up very well for those passes. They saw my run coming in and were able to get a great ball to me, and I was able to finish it. I should have finished some more but that’s all right,” said Gilliam, who took a cross from the right side from senior Amy Schleter to make it 2-0 for the Engineers with 12 minutes remaining before halftime.
Freshman Katie DeMoss, out of Indianapolis Roncalli, opened the scoring 12 minutes into the action with her fourth goal of the season.
Five or six freshmen are making key plays for the Engineers, Gilliam explained.
“I’m just happy I get to play. As long as I get to do that I’m very excited. It’s very nice to see the freshman class be very strong and powerful for this team. It’s great because we can build from there and keep going,” she said.
Helliwell was thrilled she could add talented recruits from within the state. Helena Bomber from Center Grove is another freshman from Indiana.
“Which is unusual for us,” Helliwell said. “Most of our team is from every state imaginable in the past. We’ve just been lucky. I tried to go out and hit Indiana a little bit harder than in the past. It’s paid off.”
St. Mary-of-the-Woods, which has been led in scoring by Terre Haute North grad Amanda Loebker, couldn’t match the Engineers’ precision passing and well-timed runs.
“The Engineers played very well,” Pomeroys coach Mike Aycock said. “We’re very young, so maybe a step behind tactically. [But] we showed we’ve got the athletes to play a game like this.”
Aycock was impressed by Rose-Hulman’s play.
“They were very crisp and really played the angles,” Aycock said. ‘Our team is making the progress we need to make.”
Helliwell thought it was a well-played game on both sides.
“St. Mary-of-the-Woods have gotten so much better. They’re passing and moving and playing possession style. It’s great to see them out here having so much fun. We try to do the same thing, just come out and have fun and take care of business,” Helliwell said.
Helliwell hopes the Engineers can open the HCAC schedule with some strong play against Bluffton. Rose-Hulman finished ninth in the league last season, but the influx of talent gives the squad plenty of reason for optimism.
“We got it done in the end. Where we played against Principia to how we played today was not as high. I wasn’t disappointed but overall in the end, a win’s a win,” the coach said.
Added the Gilliam, “we played well but there’s definitely room for improvement. We definitely need to come out stronger for Bluffton.”
St. Mary-of-the-Woods 0 0 — 0
Rose-Hulman 2 1 — 3
RH — Katie DeMoss
RH — Hayley Gilliam (Amy Schleter)
RH — Gilliam
Shots — RH 20, SMWC 3.
Shots on goal — RH 15, SMWC 1.
Next — Rose-Hulman (5-4-1) plays host to Bluffton on Saturday. St. Mary-of-the-Woods (1-5) plays host to Lindenwood on Saturday.