The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Women’s Soccer Team was defeated by Illinois-Wesleyan with a score of 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship at the St. Paul, Minnesota Regional hosted by St. Thomas. This is the eighth time in the last nine years the Warhawks have made an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
The Warhawks came into the tournament undefeated in their last three games, having outscored their opponents 12-2, which lead to them claiming the WIAC conference title from last weekend.
“We were able to beat both La Crosse and River Falls, who are both very good teams. They both offensively and defensively tested us. In both games we came out strong, and we focused on having fun. In post season we just really focus on having fun, trusting each other, trusting our preparation, and going in with the highest confidence that we possibly can this weekend,” said Senior goalkeeper Sara Klimisch.
Klimisch ended her season being named the WIAC Scholar-Athlete for women’s soccer.
The Warhawks last played the Illinois Wesleyan Titans in 2015, during the second round of the NCAA tournament. Wesleyan’s Cameron Hindel was able to secure the first goal for the Titans in minute 42. The Warhawks were able to tie the game 1-1, with goal shot by junior midfielder Anna Boyd during minute 78, assisted by junior midfielder Anna Perona.
“The vibes have been really good, we’ve been pushing ourselves while staying focused, which is a big thing going into a tournament this big, we can’t get like focused on anything except ourselves, and that’s something we’ve done a really good job of,” said Boyd.
Boyd ends her season with All-WIAC first team accolades, receiving this honor with 6 of her teammates.
Senior goalkeepers Sara Klimisch and Nina Yonan were able to block a total eleven shots from the Wesleyan Titans, Klimisch able to save four shots after the Warhawks goal, leading the game into overtime.
“One of the greatest strengths this team has, I think is the confidence in each other,” said Kilmisch, “We play with confidence every single game, we trust each other, we have fun, and the atmosphere on this team is incredible. I’m so happy I get to run this last season with my teammates, as a family.”
Five minutes into overtime, Illinois Wesleyan’s Heather Dietrich was able to end the tie, securing the Titan’s second goal, assisted by Rachel White.
“There’s been a lot of people who have overlooked us this year, but we’ve been able to stay focused on ourselves and nothing around that. Going into a tournament this big as the NCAA’s, we’re going to continue to be overlooked, but I think we use that to our advantage pretty well,” said Boyd.
The Warhawks earned their trip to the NCAA Division III Championships after winning the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in both regular season and tournament championships for the fourth time in the program’s history. They won their tournament title after beating the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse 4-1.