The women’s soccer team currently sits in sixth place in the HCAC table following a 3-0 loss to conference leading Hanover on Saturday. In order to make the postseason tournament, the Ravens must climb into one of the top four spots in the conference. With just two games remaining on their schedule, their odds are slim, but with strong play, the women can sneak in.
Their 3-2-2 record in HCAC play has been good enough to give them a chance, but the Ravens do not control their own destiny at this point. Tonight, the team will match up against Rose-Hulman (5-2) who are in a tie for third place with Franklin. In order to avoid elimination from postseason consideration, the team will need to win each of their remaining two contests.
On Saturday, the Ravens will face Bluffton (0-7) at home. Even with wins in both of their remaining games, the team still could miss out on the postseason if Rose-Hulman and Franklin win one of their last two games.
The only scenario in which Anderson makes the postseason would be: a Ravens win over Rose-Hulman and Bluffton, a tie or Franklin win against Transylvania and a tie between Rose-Hulman and Transylvania. While this might seem like a lot, none of these outcomes would be major upsets based on each team’s record.
Head coach Jennifer Myhre believes in her squad and thinks that they have what it takes to compete in the postseason if they make it there. She knows that in order to do that, her team must put up their first back-to-back wins of the season.
“With the results over the weekend, it really comes down to the game Wednesday at Rose,” said Myhre. “We have to take care of business and be ready from the start to press them and finish our opportunities. This is our chance and have to be ready from the first whistle to go after it.”
The team is well aware that these are must-win games in order to keep their season alive. Junior goal leader Emily Buchman says the team has endured an up and down season but thinks they are ready to make the jump.
“Our team has been through a lot since conference play has started,” said Buchman. “Despite the challenges that we have been through, we have fought hard for each other and overcome them together. We have done a good job of connecting as a unit and playing as one, which is huge for us.”
Sophomore Katie Essick also spoke on the challenges that the team has had to endure throughout the duration of the season. And while these have been hard for the ladies, she believes it doesn’t carry over to their off the field interactions.
“I think with every new season, it brings its own challenges,” said Essick. “This team has come so far from the beginning of the season. Most of the struggles we’ve had come on the field and not off the field, the biggest issue being combining and scoring on a consistent basis.”
Throughout the season, the Ravens have struggled to find consistency on the offensive end. They have been held scoreless twice in their last three games. That will need to change against Rose-Hulman. One way of doing that will be to get the ball to Buchman as much as possible. She leads the team with seven goals and has a shot on goal percentage north of 60 percent. In order to win, the team must rely on their most successful goal scorer.
“The biggest thing that we need to improve on is scoring,” said Buchman. “Although we are playing well as a whole, we still need to put the ball in the back of the net in order to win these last two games. We have struggled with finishing all season, and it will be crucial to finish the ball in order to win.”
The defense for the Ravens has been exceptional thus far in the season. Through 14 games, they have only allowed multiple goals on four occasions and have held six teams scoreless.
“Our backline has been a consistent strong hold for us all season,” said Myhre. “As a team, when we are able to possess the ball, have good movement all across the field and play quick, we have had success.”
Even after losing the right to control their own fate for the HCAC tournament, the team is upbeat and optimistic that they can do their part by winning their last two games. The Ravens haven’t lost back-to-back games all season. They are coming off of a loss to Hanover Saturday.