Alex Allen, Copy Editor~
On Saturday, Nov. 11, Lynchburg College’s women’s soccer team began their journey to find their way back to a National Title. It has been three years since they brought the first National Championship win home to LC and two since they have made it past the second round. This year, the Lady Hornets continued tradition and took the game’s “inch by inch” and made it into the sweet sixteen.
They gained momentum before heading into the NCAA tournament this season by winning the ODAC Championship and having several members named to the All-ODAC conference teams, as well as acquiring the ODAC Player of the Year. This year the title was given to senior defender Emily Maxwell. Alongside Maxwell on the All-ODAC conference teams were junior forward Caitlin Mertens and fellow junior midfielders Kennedy Jakubek and Kara Rombough, sophomore midfielder Georgie Duggan and senior midfielder Rachel Cooke.
The Lady Hornets began their journey with a win against McDaniel College with a score of 1-0. Junior goalkeeper Delia LoSapio had a total of five saves during this game, shutting out McDaniel’s. This game went into overtime and was played to the 96 minute. Each side had a number of shots at scoring, 28-13 with LC having the most shot attempts, but neither side could find the back of the net. This forced the game to come down to the wire, and the winner was decided by one final goal. The winning shot for LC was made by Jakubek, from an assist by Mertens.
Next on the table for the Lady Hornets was Christopher-Newport University (CNU). CNU was the host team for this weekend and had not been scored on since Oct. 21 and was previously undefeated. This game came down to the last second of the second half. LC managed to score two goals against CNU while they only allowed one goal. The first goal came from Mertens who launched a shot from 25 yards out and found the back of the net, putting LC up 1-0 on CNU. The next goal, adding cushion for the Hornets’ win, came from Cooke, who chipped the ball over the keeper’s head off an assist from junior defender Brooke Kowalski. This put the Hornets up 2-0, but CNU came back to score one goal off of a penalty-kick that occurred due to a hand-ball in the 18-yard box. CNU may have put the score at 2-1, but it was not enough to defeat the Lady Hornets. LoSapio had a total of eight saves during this game, holding CNU who averages about four goals a game to only one goal.
Senior defender Amani Jones said, “We’re all pumped and excited about what happened this past weekend. Beating CNU was definitely a huge win and moving forward into the tournament we know that we have heart and we can play with anyone at any time, at any field. It’s awesome being able to go back to the Sweet 16 again because we haven’t been in so long so it’s a massive accomplishment to get there, but we have all intentions of giving it everything we’ve got to try and get to the final four, one game at a time.”
Carrying this momentum and familiar feeling, LC looks forward to their next game against the first ranked and undefeated, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Saturday, Nov. 18.