The Trinity University womenâ€™s soccer team has their sights set toward this weekendâ€™s first two rounds of games in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament that is being hosted at Trinity this Friday through Sunday. The team hopes to continue their recent run of success after winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament, where they took down Southwestern University 6-0 in the semifinals and Texas Lutheran University 4-0 in the finals, with both games being one sided affairs. Their 19-0-1 record currently has the team ranked as the number one team in womenâ€™s Division III soccer.
As the number one team in the nation, they handily dispatched both Southwestern and Texas Lutheran in the SCAC tournament. The large score line from the two tournament games displays the teamâ€™s dominating performances, which is reinforced further when the statistics from those two games are viewed. Over the course of the two games, the women took 50 total shots. 28 of those being on target to the goal, with 10 of those chances being converted into goals for the Tigers. On the other side of the ball, the Tiger defense allowed only one shot to each team and neither one threatened Trinityâ€™s Junior goalkeeper Janie Thompson.
â€œA lot of defending, in my mind, is good attacking,â€ said head womenâ€™s soccer coach Lance Key. â€œIf we are able to sustain that type of pressure, which we were, then you end up with those type of statlines, which are a testament to the team commitment.â€
Based on the statistics of each individual player during the SCAC tournament, seven members of the team were named to the All SCAC Tournament team, which Key was proud of, but he believes that there are other girls on the team who could have been nominated to the tournament as well.
â€œItâ€™s a great recognition,â€ Key said. â€œI think there [are] some phenomenal players on our team that did not get in that group.â€
While Key is very proud of the girls who were nominated to the conference team, he believes that the greatest recognition for the team is that they held their conference opponents to only two goals over a 14 game period.
Of the seven players named to the tournament team, junior defender Jordan Leeper and sophomore forward and midfielder Julia Camp earned additional accolades after being named the defensive most valuable player (MVP) Â and offensive MVP for the tournament respectively. Leeper was very appreciative of the award, but she gave credit to her teammates for helping her earn the achievement.
â€œThe SCAC championship was a complete team effort not just this past weekend but through the entire season,â€ Leeper said. â€œIt means a lot to have all that effort recognized.â€
Camp also brushed aside the notion that her performance in the regular season and the SCAC tournament helped lead the Tigers to their seventh straight SCAC championship, even though she led the SCAC in scoring and points with 13 goals scored and 30 total points. (Goals count for two points, assists count for one point.)
â€œWe had so many different people contributing to our offense, and our defense kept shut outs in both of our games,â€ Camp said. â€œIt was a great way to finish out the regular season with two good wins.â€
Those two good wins, along with the success the team this season can be directly attributed to the work the team puts in during their practices.
â€œOur practices consist of competitions against one another and that helps keep our competitive edge up,â€ Leeper said. â€œDuring drills, our coaches always want us to play like we would in a game rather than just simply satisfying the drill itself.â€
Leeper believes that these two factors played a major role in helping the team be prepared on game day.
Camp echoed Leeperâ€™s statements mentioning that the way the team practices has been vital in the teamâ€™s success this season.
â€œCollectively, we all put so much hard work and heart into all of our practices,â€ Camp said. â€œWe make it a goal to help make each other better by challenging one another in the practice setting so that we can be successful during games.â€
With all the practice that the team has put in preparation for this point of the season, they are primed for the competition and are looking forward to facing the University of Texas-Tyler in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.
â€œWeâ€™re ready for playoffs and that we just need to stay confident and believe that weâ€™re prepared,â€Camp said. â€œ[We are very] excited for the game on Friday. It canâ€™t get here soon enough.â€
The Trinity Tigers face off against the University of Texas-Tyler at 5 pm on Friday in the opening round of the 64 team draw in NCAA Division III womenâ€™s soccer tournament.
Due to NCAA rules, ticket prices have been set for each day of games. It is $6 for general admission, $3 for students with I.D. and seniors (age 55 and over) and $2 for children ages 3-12. Tickets may be purchased starting at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday by the soccer field. The first 200 students, with their student IDâ€™s, will be given free access to the game, courtesy of Trinityâ€™s Student Government Association.