Women’s soccer finishes 2014 season 13-4-2
By Taylor Atlas, Contributing Writer
A briskness was in the air. The field at Messiah College was prepped and ready, lines freshly painted and the grass still holding onto its green shine. On the Gettysburg sideline the team was decked out in their newly acquired parkas, ready to take on both the cold and the challenge of the NCAA Division III women’s soccer tournament against Capital University of Ohio. There was an ever-present hum of excitement in the air.
That hum remained until the final penalty kick hit the back of the net for Capital, quickly and sharply ending what was one of the most successful women’s soccer seasons in Gettysburg College history.
“It was awful to watch them make their penalty kick to win,” junior Lauren Schapiro said. “But we played our hearts out that game and it was not how we wanted it to go, but the experience was still worth it.”
It was the first time since 2004 that the team made it to the NCAA tournament, and Schapiro said that the team had been working towards that goal all season, and to finally achieve it felt great.
“It felt amazing to finally make the NCAA. It has been a huge goal of ours as a program to get there and it was a great experience,” Schapiro said.
In fact, Schapiro believes that earning the bid to the NCAA tournament was the best part of an outstanding year. “The highlight of the season was definitely receiving the bid,” Schapiro said. “It was something I had yet to experience since being here and it was really exciting for us as a team.”
But the bid to the tournament was just icing on the cake of a successful season. This season the Bullets won the Centennial Conference regular season after going undefeated in conference play and beat nationally ranked Johns Hopkins University for the first time in a decade, all of which were also goals of the Bullets before the season began.
These accomplishments also gave them hosting rights for the conference tournament, which they lost in the semi-final round to Swarthmore College. “This season was such a good one because we really worked for our goals,” Schapiro said. “We set goals at the beginning of the season and reached most of them, so it’s great for our program.”
On top of that, six of their players were tabbed all-conference players, three of which were first team honors. Head Coach Matt Garrett was also named the 2014 Centennial Conference coach of the year.
“This program is definitely progressing, and we are hoping to make the NCAA tournament each year from now on,” Schapiro said.
The team decided they were not going to let a loss on penalty kicks ruin their successful season as a whole. Throughout the season, the Bullets worked hard to become as great as they could be, and that effort did not cease until the final penalty kick against Capital.
“I’m most proud of our teams effort. I think the entire game we wanted to win and worked for each other,” Schapiro said. “It didn’t end the way we wanted but I think everyone gave it everything they had.” Now the Bullets know they can make it as far as the NCAA tournament, providing motivation to continue the trend next season.
“Now we know the end goal is possible,” sophomore Maddie Brown said. “That will be enough motivation to have another successful season.”
The Bullets’ final record of the season was 13- 4-2, with 13 wins being the most since 2006.