Despite difficult weather conditions, the Duhawks played their final home game of the season on Saturday, April 14, falling 20-5 to Augsburg.
“We had a lot working against us,” said Head Coach Barbara Vega. “Bad weather, it was raining initially, and then started sleeting, and bad field conditions, (but) we played a full game. Defense was very strong, and played very well together.”
Goals came from all over the attack, led by Sarah James with two goals. Other players including first-year Katlynne Wolf, junior Renata Veljacic, and senior Sarah Hanson also scored. Hanson and senior Nia Stompanato also came with an assist each. Anchoring the defense in goal, senior Ashley McGee had nine saves for the Duhawks.
“James really stepped up during the game,” said Vega, “Before the game, we talked about taking risks on the offense and leaving it all out there, making our shots count and putting them to use, and SJ did just that.”
But she isn’t the only one who’s stepped up throughout this season.
“Each game there’s someone new, taking the lead and the spotlight,” said Vega. “It’s not the same person every single game.”
The next two weeks, the Duhawks will be on the road, facing Cornell this Wednesday at 7 p.m. before traveling to Chicago to play Illinois Tech and Concordia Chicago, and rounding out the regular season next week against Monmouth and Aurora.
“The focus now will be on taking care of ourselves and making sure we’re recovering properly,” said Vega. “The most important thing will be mental toughness and pushing through aches and pains, ensuring that we play a full 60 minutes for the rest of our games.”
The team is close to making history, as they are currently in fifth place in the conference, one spot away from making the conference tournament.
“We want to make history,” said Vega. “We want to put a target on our backs, and we want to prove that we deserve to be at the tournament.”
Last year, the team finished ninth in the MWLC.
“We’ve had progress every single year. The seniors have put in so much work over the past four years, and this is the closest we’ve come to making it into the tournament. It’s giving the whole team, especially the seniors, something to push for as we finish the season.”
The team will graduate six seniors this year: goalie Ashley McGee, attackers Sarah Hanson and Halea Griffin, mid-fielders Katie Kulas and Nia Stompanato, and defender Kaitlin Seich.
Despite weather woes, the team is still fighting strong.
“Rain or shine, we still grind,” said Assistant Coach Itzel Rivera.