The women’s soccer team clinched the Iowa Conference regular-season title, making it the No. 1 seed in the postseason conference tournament.
The achievement comes after weeks of hard work and dedication that has earned the Duhawks a national ranking — No. 18 in NCAA Division III.
The Duhawks finished 12-1-3 on the season. The team hopes to keep the momentum going during the postseason, as they pursue a title in the conference tournament that would guarantee a spot in the national playoffs.
However, that won’t be easy. One of the two teams that Loras tied during the conference portion of the schedule, Wartburg, is the first team the Duhawks will play in the tournament. In fact, Wartburg now has played Loras to a draw in four consecutive matches.
Loras will continue to seek leadership from a trio of seniors — Maura Walsh, Lauren Bolnius and Riley O’Neill — who all have made 70 appearances for the Duhawks during their careers. Walsh, who tallied a hat trick in a recent victory over Coe, rose to the top of the conference’s scoring board, as she accumulated 55 points during the season.
The Duhawks secured the regular-season conference title by tying Central, 1-1, in their final match.
Central started with an 11-3 shot advantage at the half and took a 1-0 into halftime. However, in the second half, Loras turned the tables on the Dutch, outshooting them 9-4, including a shot into the top-right corner of the net by Bolnius that tied the game.
“We had to change things up,” said Coach Matt Pucci. “Luckily, the change caught Central off guard, and we were able to convert on an effective strategy.”
Pucci went on to explain his faith in the squad, and, once again, they did not disappoint.
In overtime, neither side could produce a goal. While a win would have been nice for the Duhawks, the tie gave them the outright IIAC title.
“We are excited and humbled to be in the position that we are in,” said Bolnius. “We had a powerful team this season and we executed.”
As of right now, the women will be able to host their tournament games at home. The Duhawks hosted Wartburg on Wednesday (which occurred after The Lorian went to press on Tuesday night).