For the first time since the 2003 season, the Anderson women’s soccer team will be competing in post season play. A 5-2-2 conference record was good enough to take home fourth place in the HCAC, earning the team the final spot in the conference tournament.
“When you look back and see all this team has accomplished this season, it’s been unbelievable,” said AU coach Jennifer Myhre.
“Their goal set in January was to be in the top four and they worked tirelessly and for each other since then to make it happen,” she said. I’m proud of them and everyone who has laced up for AUWS over the years to make it possible. We’ve been on a steady climb and it’s great to see all the work payoff.”
Danae Miller echoed her coach’s sentiments, saying, “It is crazy to see how far this team has come in the past few years. Making the conference tournament is just icing on the cake. We have broken a lot of AU records this year but we had one goal in mind when coming into the season: make the conference tournament.”
“The past two years I have been on the team we were ranked fifth,” Miller said. Only the top four teams moved on, so to finally secure the spot was a sense of accomplishment, but also a sense of motivation. We’re motivated to not just make the tournament, but to win.”
AU clinched their spot in the tourney after a 0-0 tie against Defiance before wrapping up the season against Franklin. Franklin was victorious 3-0.
The Ravens won’t have to wait long for a chance at revenge, as they face the top-seeded Grizzlies tonight at 7 p.m.
Katie Frazer explained what the Ravens will have to do to defeat the Franklin in the rematch.
“I think we need to stay composed and play our game,” she said. “We can’t rush passes and we need to transition from one side of the field to the other faster than we did on Saturday.
“We just need to shut down their key players and play the way we did against Mount St. Joseph,” Frazer said.
That win against Mount St. Joseph was arguably the biggest of the season for the Ravens.
The Ravens came in with a balanced offensive attack. Emily Buchman is fifth in the conference with nine goals. Maddie Martin led the HCAC with seven assists and Katie Frazer tied for second with six. Miller finished fifth with five.
Their backline is also very strong. Keeper Allyson Saylor led the conference with a save percentage of 89 percent. Her eight goals allowed were the lowest in the HCAC.
Saylor will have her work cut out for her against the Grizzlies. Unlike AU’s balanced attack, Franklin is led by one dominant player, Maddie Fleet.
Fleet led the HCAC with 23 goals, 11 more than second-place. She also tied Frazer with her six assists. Her 52 points were 23 more than the next highest.
“Maddie Fleet is an extremely talented player,” said Frazer. “She is extremely fast and has excellent ball skills. However, she doesn’t like physical contact and hates to use her left foot. I think we’re going to need to man-mark her to the point where she mentally shuts down.”
Miller agreed that the Ravens will need to be physical with Fleet. “The most important thing for us to do is to step hard and step first to the ball,” she said. “If we do not allow them the time to settle and turn toward the goal, we will be fine. If we can play two halves like we played the first half on Saturday, then we will emerge victorious.”
Regardless of what happens, it has been a very successful season for the Ravens. Last season was the team’s first winning season in 15 years. They intended to build on last year’s success and have managed to do so.
Tonight’s match is at 7 p.m. at Franklin. If the Ravens can pull out a victory, they will take on the winner of Mount St. Joseph and Hanover in the conference championship.