CHATHAM, NJ - There are times on the soccer field when Sophie Straka admits that the feeling of frustration gets to her, perhaps, as if she's constantly rolling a boulder up a hill like the Sisyphus character in Greek Mythology.
That Greek Mythology analogy is probably a bit over the top, but the Chatham striker has certainly been fighting through a scoring drought that was getting into her head through the first four games of the 2020 season.
Relief came with 4:40 left in Chatham's battle with Parsippany Hills when Straka raced onto a long ball off the foot of Elizabeth Droner, settled it and slotted a low shot into the far left corner for her first goal of the year (see below).
The goal helped undefeated Chatham clinch its 3-0 win on Friday at Haas Field.
"I'm used to it because I kinda have bad luck in general and this happened to me last year, too (when she went the first 6 games without a goal)," the Cougar captain said. "I was getting a little frustrated and it was hard to keep myself motivated as more games went on and I wasn't scoring. I just knew that if kept working hard and doing my best, eventually I'd get one in. And finally...it happened."
Before Straka's goal, Chatham (5-0) had been protecting a 1-0 lead since the 13th minute of the first half when Kayleigh Coughlin scored off a pass from Ashley Kiernan. Kiernan, the team-leading scorer with 4 goals, set up the goal by beating a defender down the left wing, cutting toward the goal and centering a pass that Coughlin put away from six yards.
Coughlin, Cate Hackett, Droner and Straka talk about the win
"The team looks really good and our record is reflecting how good of a team we are this year," Straka said. "We have a lot of depth and a lot of good players. In past years, we've had a really good team, but our record hasn't reflected it because we'd alternate good and bad games. We've done a good job of keeping it together and playing consistently well."
Droner made it look like an easier win than it was when she dribbled into the box and angled a rolling shot that bounced off a leg and into the goal with just 42 seconds showing (see below).
COUGAR NOTES: Junior goalie Cate Hackett played a strong game, making six saves and controlling the penalty area in her shutout effort ... The Cougars are averaging three goals a game in outscoring the opposition, 15 to 5 ... Eight different players have scored so far for Chatham, led by sophomore Ashley Kiernan (4 goals, 2 assists), senior Olivia Garman (2 goals), sophomore Remmey McEnroe (2 goals), senior Elizabeth Droner (2 goals, 6 assists), junior Kayleigh Coughlin (2 goals) freshman Leigha Matter (1 goal) and junior Audrey Van Wie (1 goal) and Sophie Straka (1 goal, 3 assists) ... Straka now has 15 goals and 15 assists in her career ... The Cougars started out 5-0 last season before losing to Randolph, 2-0, in its sixth game of 2019 ... Chatham plays host to Montville, 4 p.m. Tuesday at Haas Field.