Sydney Paulsen and the Southern Oregon University soccer team have at least temporarily alleviated any concerns about the Raiders' lack of firepower around the goal.
And they cracked the school record books in the process Wednesday at University Field with a 7-0 win against the Holy Names Hawks.
Paulsen scored three times and the Raiders used their opening game as a platform to beat up on the Hawks for the third straight season and showcase their play-making potential. Their goal total was higher than in any game since 2007 and tied for the fifth-best mark in program history.
Serena DeChristofaro, Alyssa Bricker, Presley Lambert and Lisa Elledge also each got on the board as the Raiders out-shot the Hawks 19-6 and put eight of them on goal.
"I think it was a little better than we envisioned it might be," SOU coach Jon Clement said. "We showed a lot of versatility across the board, and the quality of some of the finishes and interchanges leading up to them were great."
DeChristofaro and Bricker put the Raiders up 2-0 less than 12 minutes into the game on feeds from Chloe Welch and Sara Dutra. But Paulsen took it from there.
Paulsen, a senior forward, scored SOU's next three goals, the first on an unassisted shot from 15 yards out. The next served as the most striking — a 30-yard rocket of a free kick that snuck into the upper right corner of the goal to give the Raiders a 4-0 halftime lead.
"I had goosebumps for like 10 minutes after I kicked that," Paulsen said. "I don't know if I've ever been so excited about a shot."
She connected with Bricker to complete the hat trick in the 51st minute.
"Sydney puts her foot through the ball as well as anybody," Clement said. "As you could see, that free-kick strike was world class. That's gonna be a goal against any goalkeeper in the world I think."
Lambert's goal came less than a minute later, and Brook Gaddy assisted Elledge's score in the 86th minute.
The Raiders have outscored Holy Names 16-2 in three meetings since 2011.
"There's always room for improvement, but this was the first season we've really focused on offense over defense and I think it showed," Paulsen said.
Freshman Kylie Moltzen made a relaxed debut at goalkeeper and recorded four saves.
The contest went down as an exhibition for Holy Names, which competes at the NCAA Division II level, and therefore didn't count against their record.
The Hawks play in Ashland again on Friday against Concordia.
The Raiders, who have now started their last three seasons with wins, play next on Aug. 28 at Cal State Monterey and on Aug. 29 in an exhibition at Chico State.