Duhawks avenge Wartburg, gain NCAA berth
Last Wednesday, Oct. 31 Loras Women’s soccer took on University of Dubuque in the first ever American Rivers Conference semi-finals. The winner would look to play in the championship to play for a ticket to the NCAA tournament. The Duhawks came out quick with a goal coming from sophomore Kiki Cabrera in the third minute. Not long after, Dubuque responded by sending in a penalty kick in the seventh minute. The rest of the half proved to be a stalemate with both teams going to the locker room after 45 minutes both with a goal to their name.
The 58th minute gave the Duhawks the advantage with a goal coming from first-year Ryleigh O’Brien making it her eighth of the season. The Spartans responded in the 62nd minute with another goal from the penalty box. Junior Jenny Wick put the Duhawks in front in the 65th minute. The game ended 3-2 in favor of Loras, sending the Duhawks to the American Rivers Conference Championship.
“The atmosphere of tonight’s game was great from both sides. We are very happy to come out with the win. Our confidence is building and we are now ready to play in the conference championship” said Coach Pucci after the game. The women have had a long season with games starting in August. With such a long season, the team’s consistent success shows for their skill and ability to be contenders in the post season tournaments. Coach Pucci said, “The team has held together very well and we are clicking at all the right times on and off the field. We now need to focus on recovery and prepare ourselves for the next game.”
Last Saturday, Nov. 3 brought another important win or go home game for the Duhawks as they played Wartburg College in the American Rivers Conference Championship. The team came out ready and hungry for a win and a ticket to the NCAA tournament. The Duhawks came out as the aggressor with efforts coming from junior Genna Sobiezczyk, Senior Gretchen Schutz, and senior Elizabeth Mills in the 14th, 26th, and 13th minutes. Minute 38 brought a goal from first-year Emily Perhats to give Loras the lead. Wartburg answered with a goal right before the end of the half leaving the game in a tie after 45 minutes. Wartburg came out on top with a goal in the 60th minute giving them the advantage. The Duhawk spirit was far from being crushed as Mills scored to equalize the game with 20 minutes remaining to play. A few minutes later, O’Brien scored to give the Duhakws a one goal advantage. With time running out, Wartburg went on the all-out offensive, but Loras junior goalkeeper Kaylee Coble kept Wartburg attempts from turning into goals. The game ultimately ended 3-2 in a Loras victory.
“Tonight, I was impressed with our fight, grit, and belief. It was an amazing game to watch. Now we have proved that we are ready and worthy of a spot in the NCAA tournament and we will prepare ourselves for the next challenge at hand” said coach Pucci.