Women’s soccer team bids fairwell to seniors, looks for new leadership
The Loras women’s soccer team ended their season with an 11-5-4 record after falling to Wartburg in the Iowa Conference tournament championship.
Throughout regulation, neither team could find the back of the net as the game headed into overtime tied at zero. Two scoreless overtime periods led to penalty kicks. The Duhawks were only able to convert on one of three attempts, while the Knights buried three of four to give Wartburg the conference title.
The women hoped for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, but unfortunately they were left out of the tournament for the second consecutive season.
Despite the loss in the final, the women completed a strong season in which they grew as a young team, getting contributions from new and old faces.
Senior Katie Truesdale took home her second consecutive Iowa Conference Offensive MVP with another phenomenal season. She improved on her 2014 stats, scoring a career high sixteen goals along with four assists for a total of 36 points. Those numbers are good enough to lead the conference in both goals and points, making her a runaway choice for the honor.
Truesdale finishes an illustrious four year career with 58 career goals and three straight first team All-Iowa Conference selections. With those kind of numbers, she knows that she can look back fondly on these past four seasons.
“I feel so blessed to have had such a great career. Even though we didn’t do as well as we wanted to this year, I look back happy at my four years thankful to have played with so many awesome girls.”
Along with Truesdale, redshirt senior Danielle Vujovic provided the one-two punch that guided the Duhawks for most of the season. After missing the 2014 season due to injury, Vujovic returned and earned a second team All-Iowa Conference nomination with ten goals and five assists during the 2015 season. This was the third time Vujovic received the honors.
The loss of Truesdale and Vujovic to graduation opens the door for younger Duhawks to step up and become leaders. The four other All-Iowa Conference selections this season are four players who will be major factors in the Duhawks future success.
Junior forward Madie Avery appeared as an offensive threat, especially down the stretch. Her two goals helped defeat rival University of Dubuque in a tough conference road game late in the season to lead Loras to a victory. She also set a career high in goals and points with five and ten, respectively, becoming a fixture in the lineup during conference play. She was named to the second team All-Iowa Conference for the first time.
Another lineup fixture, sophomore Sydney Wright, played shutdown defense in her first season as a Duhawk, earning her a second team All-Iowa Conference nod. She was part of the squad that only allowed four goals during a 5-0-2 stretch to end the season.
Two freshmen were also named honorable mentions on second team All-Iowa Conference, Elizabeth Mills and Michelle Loyo. Mills scored three goals and finished second on the team in assists with five, providing an offensive spark even as a first-year. Loyo’s goalkeeping was a big reason why Loras finished their regular season on a five game winning streak, as she posted a 0.87 goals against average during her starts. Beginning the season as the backup, Loyo made the most of her opportunity and will look to carry this success into next year.
With this talented, young group of players, Katie Truesdale has no worries for the future of the program.
“I think they are in a great spot moving forward. They have to work hard in the offseason and focus on doing that much better next season. We made great strides this season and the girls have to keep the momentum going because I foresee them doing really well in the future. I see a lot of girls taking on a leadership role. Some girls had that this past season so they will continue on with that next season.”