By Jimmy Cassidy
The women’s soccer team at the Catholic University of America saw their season come to a close in the Second Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Sunday, November 15th. The 1-0 loss to #13 Swarthmore College was the team’s first defeat since September 19th, a stretch that included twelve straight victories in between. The 2015 champions of the Landmark Conference took the conference crown for a second straight year and finished with a fantastic 17-3 overall record.
The defeat to Swarthmore came just one day after another NCAA matchup against a nationally-ranked opponent. On Saturday, November 14th, the Cardinals took down #19 Ithaca College, 1-0. The Ithaca Bombers received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament due their strong schedule and high weekly ranking. Catholic was not phased by the strength of the team on the other half of the field, and looked to take control of the match from start to finish. The two teams played to each other’s high level of competition in the first half, with Ithaca outshooting CUA 7-6. Then the 19th ranked Bombers received a red card in the 41st minute of the half to put them down a player for the rest of the match. It was an opportunity that the Cards would not let pass up in the second 45 minutes of the contest.
Landmark head coach of the year JP Sousa and his club used the advantage to take more possession of the ball in the second half. The Cardinals barraged the keeper of Ithaca, taking 16 shots, while the Bombers managed just one chance on goal. Still, 75 minutes into the match, the scoreboard read 0-0. Then in the 79th minute, a chance was converted. Sophomore Nia Gomez received a pass, beat her defender, and then sent the ball into the six-yard box for junior Lindsay Aleman. The team’s leading goal-scorer delivered once again in a clutch situation with the goal to put CUA up 1-0. The defense made up of Kate Thompson, Sarah Madden, Maddy Thompson, and Ava Brown, and goalkeeper Lexi Halperin collectively held off Ithaca to finish the clean sheet win. The victory was Catholic’s second NCAA Tournament win in program history.
The conclusion of the season brought with it many conference awards to the Cardinals. Aleman, who set a Catholic single season record for goals with 22, was named Landmark Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Freshman phenom Taylor Pisk earned the conference’s Rookie of the Year award. Coach Sousa and his staff received the Coaching Staff of the Year award for a second straight year. In addition, seven players were named to the Landmark’s All-Conference Teams. Aleman, junior Alyssa Fiore, and seniors Ava Brown and Kirsten Wosleger all received First Team honors. Pisk made the Second Team along with Madden and Halperin. The team also led the way out of all fall sports teams at Catholic with 15 players receiving Landmark Conference student-athlete Honor Roll recognition.
Congrats to the women’s soccer team on a fantastic 2015 season!