Gardus led team in goal scoring
Kelly Gardus was a gifted goal scorer during her high school career at Salisbury. And she’s continued to be a strong threat during her first two seasons at the collegiate level.
As a sophomore at Ursinus College, Gardus led the Bears this past fall season with three goals scored. Her teammate, Morgan Raley, also scored three times. During her freshman season, Gardus ranked second on the team by scoring five of the Bears’ 25 goals.
“I was hoping to score more goals this season, but I am just happy that when we did score it came from a variety of different players,” Gardus said. “We didn’t just have one scoring threat, we had multiple, which made us very versatile.”
A total of 10 different players scored for Ursinus, making it tough for defenses to key on a single scoring threat. But the offense, overall, struggled to generate enough scoring on a consistent basis.
The Bears scored just 15 goals in 17 games, resulting in just four wins and a winless record in the Centennial Conference. Ursinus was shut out in 10 games in 2019.
“Other than losing key players due to injury, I feel we had trouble adjusting our formation around specific teams,” Gardus said. “With some opponents, we needed to play more offensively and others more defensively, and we struggled making this adjustment. Another big setback was that we could not generate offense. We struggled with getting the ball in our offensive third, causing us to not be able to get shots off.”
Gardus suffered one of those unfortunate injuries. She missed the final three games due to a knee joint capsule sprain and a LCL (lateral collateral ligament) injury. It came at one of the worst possible times for Gardus. She had scored a goal each against Muhlenberg and Rutgers-Camden in the two games before the injury. She was gaining confidence as the season progressed.
“Personally this season was a little slow for me, and I felt a little off while playing,” Gardus said. “I knew I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities early on in the season, and when I started to get back on track I sprained my LCL.”
Overall, the team had its eyes set on taking another step forward after winning eight games in 2018. And with a strong unit returning, including Gardus, 2019 looked to be promising.
The Bears did win three of their first four games, which included a scoreless tie against Arcardia. But as injuries started to pile up, so did the losses. Ursinus won just one game over its final 13 contests.
“The team as a whole had very high hopes going into this season,” Gardus said. “We had the bar set high and we all were very excited. We evidently did not meet those goals due to a variety of factors like five starters being out with severe injuries. We started off very strong, but as some of our strongest players started getting injured, we started to fall apart.”
There is, however, plenty of optimism heading into next season. All 10 of those goal scorers are eligible to return next fall, which is solid groundwork as the Bears are looking to return to postseason contention.
“Going forward into next season, I want my team to qualify for Centennial Conference playoffs,” Gardus said. “Personally I would like to score more goals than this year and stay injury free.”