The women’s soccer team lost 1-0 to Hanover Saturday in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game. Despite the loss, the Grizzlies had posted a 16-4 in regular season and lost one in conference.
This year marks the third year in a row the team has made it to the HCAC tournament championship game.
“We won the regular season championship last year as well,” said Justin Sullivan, head coach. “Going back-to-back does have its difficulties, but it is always refreshing to reach your goals. Last year, we shared the title, but had the two seed. This year, we shared the title, but earned the one seed. That was certainly a measurable goal we had as a team this fall.”
Sullivan pointed to the hard work of his players and the experience as one of the reasons for this year’s success.
“We certainly have worked to achieve the successes we’ve earned, but along with that work rate, we have some very talented student-athletes within the women’s soccer program,” Sullivan said. “Many have been playing soccer since they were five or six years old. Most played at a very high level prior to coming here, but have continued to work hard and take our program to new heights.”
Although the team did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, the team looks back at what they accomplished this year such as knocking off its first nationally ranked opponent with a 4-3 win against No. 17-ranked DePauw, beat Hanover 2-0 at home and received votes for the national poll.
“I think the improvements have been minimal yet resounding,” Sullivan said. “I think we have been more potent in our attack, refining the details while adding threatening pieces. Perhaps the biggest gain has been in our defending. Our resolve, our commitment, and our communication there has been resolute. Since September 18th we’ve only conceded three goals while scoring 41.”