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 Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation. 1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.