Improvements typically are measured in wins, but the Alleman girls' soccer team is not believing that theory.
Even in a loss, the Pioneers experienced a jolt.
Starting five freshmen and two sophomores on Monday afternoon, Alleman showed the program is taking strides during a 5-1 Western Big 6 Conference loss to Quincy on a frigid Thorson-Lucken Field. Despite the defeat, the Pioneers broke a three-year scoring drought in the series and scored the match's first goal.
"A huge springboard for us," Alleman coach Randy Bollman said. "We did unbelievably well considering the circumstances we went through. We're very excited about it."
Outside for the third time since practice started three weeks ago, the Pioneers (0-1, 0-1 Big 6) showed no signs of fatigue in the first half. Each time the Blue Devils (1-0, 1-0) charged the goal, Alleman stood tall and thwarted every scoring attempt.
Given one chance to break a scoreless tie, Olivia Gonzalez converted a Raven Wyatt cross for a goal in the 22nd minute to put Alleman ahead. It was the first time the Pioneers scored against Quincy since April 12, 2010.
"It was pretty exciting," Gonzalez said. "It was a shock."
However, the lead was short. Forty-four seconds later, Haylee McNay scored to the near post off a Kayleigh Kuhlman feed to tie the score.
Still tied six minutes into the second half, the Blue Devils ended Alleman's hope of an upset. Kuhlman scored twice in a two-minute span to break the game open, with both goals coming from shots near the middle of the field.
Quincy capped the scoring with goals from Jordan Eisenberg (72nd minute) and Kayla Bunch (78th minute).
"We did really well in the first half," Gonzalez said. "We tried to stick with them, but we kind of fell apart."
For one half, the Pioneers stuck with Quincy. Those 40 minutes got the Blue Devils' attention.
"They're going to give people fits," Quincy coach Travis Dinkheller said. "They're very physical, play with a lot of passion and are very organized. ... This is an up-and-coming program. They have a very nice group of talent."
Alleman is ready to see some results. Some positives came in its season opener.
"There's going to be improvement," Gonzalez said. "It's expected that we should be better. We're working harder, so we'll be better."
Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.