Women's soccer season ends in second round of NCAA tournament

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Midfielder Megann Lear kicks the ball down the field during the second round matchup in the Division III NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Novemeber 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. PHOTO COURTESY OF DEPAUW UNIVERSITY

The women’s soccer team has come a long way from their 2014 season—last year at this point the Tigers had finished fifth in the NCAC and had no chance at a post-season, sporting a losing record.

This year, however, marked a turning point in the program’s momentum as the Tigers came out and captured their second ever conference championship and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament where they lost to Calvin College 0-1.

“The team obviously feels disappointed after the loss to Calvin, but win or lose, we left everything we had on the field and that's really what counts,” said sophomore Bridget Brendza.

Junior goalkeeper Riley Riordan agreed, saying, “Nobody likes to lose, but we knew that the reality was everyone will end their season in a loss unless you win the NCAA tournament.”

The Calvin Knights came into the game sporting a much better record than DePauw (20-2-2 versus 12-7-2), and the Tigers weren’t able to infiltrate their defense—they only had one shot on goal the entire game, coming from junior Jen Dimos.

“The loss to Calvin was a heartbreaker because it was such a hard fought game. We were running on tired legs, with knocks and bruises and fatigue mentally and physically which made the odds in Calvin's favor from the first whistle,” said Riordan.

This past year has been an uphill battle for the team, coming back from a losing season to dominate a talented conference. “This season the success came from our unwillingness to give up,” said Dimos. “As our coach pointed out, we overcame every obstacle a soccer game can throw at you- goal deficits, overtimes, penalty kicks etc, and each time we refused to let the set backs become the results.”

Senior Stephanie Martin has been a key part of the team’s offense for multiple years now and couldn’t be more proud of her team’s effort her senior year.

“We came together as one group fighting for the same goals and purposes." said Martin. "That's what was our key factor. Thirty-two girls coming together, working day in and day out, in season and out of season to get where we wanted to be. We made history with winning the conference then turning around and winning the conference tournament,”