Conference champs: Soccer topples Augustana

William Heidenreich

Talent is not in short supply on the women’s soccer team. This season, four Titans received conference honors: Caelyn Steffens (so.), Flower Edington (sr.), Cameron Hindel (jr.) and Rachel White (so.).

The IWU women’s soccer team has been nothing short of spectacular this season. The Titans were victorious in their conference championship game against Augustana College, 1-0 in overtime. 

Their win over Augie clinched both their ninth consecutive victory and fifth conference championship in program history. 

Leading the Titans, head coach Tony Dulak is in his second season with IWU, and has two conference titles to show for it. 

“My goal in leading Illinois Wesleyan through the next chapter of the program’s history is to improve upon the program’s success, by integrating new ideas and philosophies into a strong foundation laid down over the last 24 years by alumni and coaches,” said Dulak in an article on iwusports.com. 

Dulak’s predecessor, Dave Barret, left big shoes to fill. In 17 seasons as head coach, Barrett clinched three conference titles and made 10 appearances in the DIII National Tournament. 

Showing his ability to continue the program’s history of greatness, Dulak has done so, namely, through his accomplishments. 

In his two seasons as coach, he has sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament, won two conference titles and has one postseason tournament win. 

In their conference showdown, Dulak’s brilliance was reflected through his team’s performance. IWU fired a total of 19 shots at Augustana’s goalkeeper. Out of those 19 attempts, four were on goal, but only one found the back of the net. 

Off a pass from senior forward Flower Edington, freshman forward Sydney Shanks buried the ball in the back of the net. 

Her goal came only 18 seconds after the start of overtime. Shanks ranks third on her team in goals scored with six. 

Titan goalkeeper Kelli McCarthy saw six shots from Augustana, but only two were on goal. Saving both, McCarthy notched her seventh shutout of the season. 

The next step for the Titans includes an NCAA Regional contest against the U-W Whitewater Warhawks. 

The last time these teams met, IWU lost 1-2 in overtime. That game was in 2015, but things have changed since then. 

With a driven second-year coach and a team of talented new players, Dulak and company will attack the Warhawks with everything they’ve got.