The women’s soccer team and its coach came into the season believing they had a more than capable team to contend deep into the post-season.
a win in the first playoff game on Oct. 23, however, their season came to an
abrupt end when they fell to Rock Valley 0-3 on Saturday, Oct. 26, in the NJCAA
Region IV Div. III semifinal.
The Lady Wolves could only muster two shots on goal by freshman midfielder Andrea Villa, while freshman goalkeeper Salma Ramos recorded four saves in the loss.
The Lady Wolves finished their season 8-7.
The Lady Wolves began the season up and down, not truly knowing their identity as a team. They lost three of their first five matches and were struggling. A close loss to Illinois Valley Community College 1-2, however, gave the Lady Wolves good preparation for a matchup later in the season.
Coach Elise Manzie spoke about the start of the season and the slow start.
“We need to show up and set the tempo of the game,” Manzie said. “Maintain composure, maintain possession, shoot to finish.”
The Lady Wolves rebounded and won five of their final eight matches to close out the regular season. They regained their momentum and found their true identity through a three-game winning streak and finished the regular season at 7-6.
That 7-6 record included a positive conference record of 6-4 after beating conference rival College of DuPage in a late season revenge game, 2-1.
“We are a completely different team today than we were in the first game,” Manzie said prior to the regional playoff game. “The girls have worked hard and made the commitment, and we have done work we can be proud of.”
On Wednesday Oct. 23 the Lady Wolves traveled to Oglesby to take on a familiar face in Illinois Valley Community College, hoping to avenge a 2-1 loss from earlier in the season.
The Lady Wolves adjusted their game plan in the second match against Illinois Valley.
“We continue to work hard during our practice sessions making ourselves comfortable being uncomfortable in situations we face in games,” Manzie said.
In that match, the Lady Wolves were down early in the first half, 1-0. To start the second half, they got a goal from Villa at the 50th minute to tie the game. In the 72nd minute, sophomore Taylor Metcalf gave the Wolves the lead. The Wolves held off Illinois Valley for the last 18 minutes and stoppage time to hold on for the win.
Following that win the Wolves traveled to Rock Valley College to play the 11-2 Golden Eagles team that is ranked 10th in the NJCAA Div. III polls. Having split the season series, the Lady Wolves understood what they needed to do to come away with a win. But it wasn’t to be. The Golden Eagles took an early lead and never looked back in the 0-3 loss.
As the season came to a close for the women, there was a lot to take from the season and add for next season and deep run in the postseason.
“We have core group of highly skilled players that show up and work hard alongside their teammates to make everyone who steps on the field look good,” Manzie said. “They care for each other and, most importantly, have found out they hate to lose.”