Women’s soccer continues to climb CCIW

Women%E2%80%99s+soccer+continues+to+climb+CCIW

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Jeff Neukom

Great teams respond to great challenges. After a tough stumble against a weaker Carthage side, the Illinois Wesleyan University women’s soccer team made a statement against the visiting North Park Vikings, trouncing them 10-1.

Soccer fans and players alike will tell you that one of the greatest beauties of soccer can be found in its natural flow.  They’ll also tell you how the beauty of a game is in its unpredictability. You don’t get the same experience twice in a row, and this game was no exception.

The Oct. 15 matchup featured eight different goal scorers on the Titan side.  Sophomore forwards Skyler Tomko and Sarah Trach added two apiece as they went on to match a season high of 10 goals, which is also the second-highest scoring output in IWU history.

The game also saw sophomore forward Amanda Kaiser set a school record with four assists in a game. Tillie Bill (Wis.-Whitewater 10/9/13) and Lyndsay O’Brien (North Central 10/9/04) shared the previous mark of three assists.

“It was really cool to see that I set the record for assists in a game. I was looking up statistics about the team in general, and I noticed the article. I had no idea that I set the record until the next day,” Kaiser said.

After an eye-opening victory at Neis Field, the Titans stayed focused on what was next on their agenda. The team had battled through a series of tough practices after their loss to Carthage, and it seemed they had an axe to grind as a result. What better way to make a statement than against long-time conference foe Wheaton College?

The Thunder came in ranked number six in the division three women’s soccer polls, compared to the Titans at number 23.  For a while, it appeared that the Thunder would continue rising through the ranks with a win at Neis Field, accumulating a 15-5 shot advantage late in the second half.

True to soccer’s form of being unpredictable, the momentum suddenly shifted. The Titans began building attacks, peppering the Wheaton goalkeeper with shots and crosses. All of a sudden, it was the Titans pouring on the pressure and assuming the driver’s seat position.  But, two periods of overtime couldn’t separate the two CCIW powers, which ended in a scoreless draw.

Wheaton finished the game with 20 shots to IWU’s 14, but it was clear that the Titans were skilled and resilient enough to potentially steal the victory.

“After the Carthage game, our team was more determined than ever to not lose a game,” said senior Emily Johnson.

“We came out strong against North Park, which was a good confidence booster before Wheaton. The team is proud of the Wheaton tie. We worked hard and played great as a whole,” Johnson said.

The Titans will look to continue their momentum in the CCIW in Decatur on Wednesday, Oct. 29 against Millikin University.