Women’s soccer extinguish Firebirds in season finale

Emily Thompson

All-CCIW qualifying seniors Izzy Mitra (#10), Rachel White (#3) and Caelynn Steffens (#9) lead fellow seniors to a 7-1 season and a spot in the CCIW Semifinal Championship.        Photo: Naprstek Media

Illinois Wesleyan women’s soccer swept Carthage 8-0 on Saturday, ending the regular season and scoring a spot in the upcoming College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Season Championship. 


This victory left the Titans at 9-7-1 for the regular season and 7-1 in the DIII conference ranks.


Titan offense pummeled the Firebirds early and never gave them a chance to catch up. Within ten minutes, IWU already had a two-point lead. Junior Lauren Shanks shot and scored once before assisting senior Izzy Mitra with another goal. 


The Firebirds didn’t have a chance to catch their breath before Mitra found the back of the net a second time moments later with assists by Shanks and fellow junior Jenna Li. Without cooling down, Shanks added one more to extend the Titans’ lead 4-0. 


Despite the offensive blitz, the Titans were not finished yet. Senior Heather Dietrich and junior Riley Haug put up two back-to-back goals with a career-first assist from freshman Maddy Koppe.


By halftime, the Firebirds found themselves down by six with no chance to bring the heat.


Senior Caelyn Steffens has led the Titans all season with no intentions of stopping in the season finale. Fresh into the second half, Steffens recorded the 12th goal of the season with the help of freshman Tegan Timmerman. 


Later in the second half, Dietrich made the final shot of the game, ending the matchup with an 8-0 blowout. 


The Firebirds had a few opportunities to close the scoring gap, but all of them were foiled by senior Maria Fields and freshman Kayla Borg. Borg completed two saves within the first half before Fields finished out with six in the second half. 


After this week, the women’s soccer team also saw two players given CCIW awards and four players distinguished as All-CCIW competitors.


Shanks was awarded the title of CCIW Offensive Player of the Week and All-CCIW status after her impressive plays last week against Millikin and Carthage. 


Last week, the Titans brought home a 3-1 victory against the Millikin Big Blue thanks to a game-opening goal by Shanks. She also provided four goals against Carthage in the season finale. 


This award marks Shanks’s second CCIW accolade during her collegiate career and the third women’s soccer award of the season. 


Steffens was also named the CCIW Player of the Year for her second consecutive season. Steffens is the first player in the conference’s history to win the title twice, as well as only the second Titan to receive the honor.


Steffens leads both the Titans and the CCIW ranks with 29 total points and 12 goals this season, as well as taking second in the CCIW for overall assists. Her impressive performance has also given her All-CCIW status for the second time in her career. 


Alongside Shanks and Steffens on the All-CCIW team are Mitra and fellow senior Rachel White. 


The Illinois Wesleyan women’s soccer team returned to action at home against North Central College to fight for a spot in the CCIW Tournament Semifinal on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Check online at www.iwuargus.com for a digital-exclusive game recap.