Women End Season with Clean Sheet at Hands of Parkside

Senior Jennie Coughlin helped set the tone for her teammates’ next season, which she won’t be there for.

David Ridderhoff, Sports Editor

The Lewis University women’s soccer team spent the end of their season trying to play catch up with the rest of their Great Lakes Valley Conference foes. While that hard work paid off with an entry into the GLVC Tournament, the Flyers were pitted against the powerhouse Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers, who disposed of the Flyers with a dominant 3-0 victory.  The Flyers fortunately used that victory to build momentum, which led them to a conference championship. The Rangers won all three of their match-ups by three goals. One problem the team had was playing to the strengths of the Rangers after a scrum in front of the net led to the first Ranger goal.

“[We wish we could take back] that first goal, which let them take control of the way we played after,” said senior Jennie Coughlin. “We panicked and started playing their style instead of ours.” The Flyers didn’t allow a goal in the first half, and almost kept the game scoreless past the 64th minute, but a scramble in front of the net couldn’t be cleared by the Flyers’ back line, and Rangers’ substitute Lauren Bialas scored for the Rangers. The Rangers added goals in the 76th and 80th minute, two of the Rangers’ 19 shots attempted. Senior goalkeeper Mara Bennett, who was named GLVC Defensive Player of the Week for the final week of the regular season, stopped 9 shots in her final game as a Flyer.

Junior Jessica Chavez attempted four of the Flyers’ six shots, with three of her attempts hitting the target. Her role will increase not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch, as her and fellow junior Lauren Grady will enter their final seasons as leaders for the Flyer team. “Chavez stands out in her fitness, she’s in shape and can play a full game, which is big for the team,” said Coughlin when asked on the two juniors. “Grady is a leader because she accepts every role that is asked of her.”

The team should be losing four members: Coughlin, Bennett, Susan Thomas and Sarah Pawelko, who are all seniors heading for graduation. With a young team, five-game unbeaten streaks are rare, but the team did exactly that to end their season. Starting with a victory over Quincy, the team went 3-0-2 over their final five matches to earn the no.8 seed in the GLVC Tournament. While their performance didn’t end with a conference championship, the team has more than enough to build upon for a run at that title next season. While they won’t be the favorites heading into the season, they weren’t expected to qualify for the GLVC Tournament either. Turning heads is something Flyer fans can expect from a resilient, gutsy women’s soccer team.

David Ridderhoff is a junior Radio/TV broadcast major. He is the sports editor for The Flyer. He is also the general manager of Lewis’ radio station, WLRA. As an avid sports fan, he also collects hats and jerseys from a variety of sports teams.

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