Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Women’s Soccer: ’Hawks snag first ever WIAC title


By Kevin Cunningham

The feat had never been accomplished before.

For the first time in school history, the Warhawk women’s soccer team won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship game.

The team captured the WIAC title by defeating UW-Stevens Point 1-0, with the lone goal coming in the 23rd minute off a free kick by junior defender Jessica Allemang. The ’Hawks also set a school record for wins under first year head coach Ryan Quamme, finishing the regular season at 15-4-1.

Quamme was pleased with Allemang’s free kick, but was more pleased with how the team played defensively.

“The defense has been good all year,” Quamme said. “It definitely paid off in Saturday’s game. Sophomore goalie Jordan Myers was solid yesterday and she’s had a great season as well.”

Myers has been outstanding this season for the ’Hawks, ending the regular season with a 0.83 goals allowed per game average. Myers, only a sophomore, was excited to be a part of the first ever Warhawk women’s soccer team to win the WIAC tournament.

“It has been an incredible experience,” Myers said. “Our entire season has built up to this point.”

This year will mark only the second NCAA tournament appearance for the ’Hawks. Last year the team lost in the WIAC tournament championship game and received an at-large bid to their first NCAA tournament. The team did not disappoint, despite being new to the scene. The ’Hawks ended up making it to the Sweet Sixteen round before losing to Wheaton College, who eventually finished as the runner-up.

The NCAA tournament bracket for Division III women’s soccer is much like the NCAA tournament for men’s basketball. There is a field of 64 teams, split into four separate regions. Within the four regions, there are groups of four teams for the first two rounds. Consequently, if the ’Hawks make it past Wittenberg University in the first round this coming Friday, the team could face Wheaton College in the next round if they also win their first round matchup.

The Tigers were ranked No. 4 in the latest Great Lakes Region rankings. In the latest rankings, the Tigers and ’Hawks were both unranked. The ’Hawks however were one of 10 teams to receive votes for a top-25 ranking. The Friday game between the two teams is poised to be a defensive battle.

Both teams take pride in their defense, and the ’Hawks come into the NCAA tournament shutting out their last four opponents. The team has only allowed two or more goals four times all year. The Tigers, however, also own a stout defense. They have only allowed two goals three times this season and have never surrendered more than three goals.

Quamme knows that in order for the ’Hawks to succeed, the team needs to continue their defensive dominance.

“We have tweaked some things [defensively] and really started to push the team,” Quamme said. “We take pride in getting shutouts which gives us a chance to win.”

Quamme also said that if he could choose one area of the game to dominate throughout the NCAA Tournament, it would be on the defensive side.

“The saying that defense wins championships is very true in soccer,” Quamme said. “We all feel very confident that we’re going to find a goal during play. We haven’t been shutout since early in the season, so our biggest emphasis is winning the 50-50 balls out of the air and having a defend-first mentality.”

The Tigers have a different strategy than most teams when it comes to goalkeeping. Most teams have one standard keeper that plays all 90 minutes. The Tigers play two.

Cassie Lythjohan and Melissa Gartner are both seniors and have kept things steady in net all year. At times, head coach Kwame Lloyd will implement both Lythjohan and Gartner during a game, and at other times he will only play one for the entire game. If only one will be playing, it’s likely to be Lythjohan because she has started more games and has played more minutes than Gartner.

Whether the ’Hawks see either keeper, both seniors have been successful all season. Like the ’Hawks’ Myers, both Lythjohan and Gartner average giving up less than a goal per game. Lythjohan is allowing 0.56 goals per game, while Gartner is allowing 0.50.

The game against the Tigers will be this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. If the ’Hawks beat the Tigers, the team will play the very next day in the second round against the winner of Wheaton College and Webster University at 2:30 p.m.

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Founded 1901
Women’s Soccer: ’Hawks snag first ever WIAC title