Soccer team finishes season in two overtime battle against Wheaton

Jannae Mehaffey

The women’s soccer team finished their season on Nov. 3 to a tough loss against Wheaton in the second overtime of the CCIW final. Even though they didn’t win the CCIW tournament, making it to the tournament is still quite an accomplishment, one they couldn’t have done without the team’s focus and drive.

Junior Molly Fank said she saw the team grow so much from their first game leading up to their last.

“Since our first game to now, we have grown so much not only on the field but also off,” Fank said. “At the beginning of the season I think we were still figuring out how to play for each other and the importance of every game, but I believe that throughout the season we grew into understanding how important the games are and how important it is to play for each other.”

The last two seasons have been affected by COVID-19, so this was the first real season for the team since then. Because of this, most of the teams they faced this season had underclassmen that hadn’t had a game during their college careers so far. Sophomore Janey Castoe noticed the change in the pace of their season once they started playing these teams.

“When we started conference games it was a whole new level. We were facing teams that the freshman and sophomores had never experienced because of COVID-19,” Castoe said. “It was a whole new level of play and our team adjusted well to it.”

Finishing with an overall winning season, the team has many highlights and unforgettable memories made this season. Senior Anna Bross and first-year Carson Kekelik reflect on the highlights of their season.

“I think the highlight of the season was making it to the CCIW tournament. We had some really difficult games throughout the season that we had to endure in order to get into the tournament,” Bross said. “Being able to pull out some great wins, especially against North Park, towards the end of the season were major highlights.”

This season Keklik got the opportunity to play with her older sister, senior Cami Kekelik, and since the two are four years apart, this was one of the first times in both their lives that they got to share the field on the same team.

“The highlight of this season would be being able to play out on the same field as my sister for the first and last time,” Kekelik said.

The game against Wheaton turned out to be Bross’s final game of college soccer. Even though they lost, Bross was incredibly proud of the fight her team showed in that final game.

“It was a disappointing way to end the season, but I am still so unbelievably proud of our team for making it as far as we did and for working so hard,” Bross said.

Falling to Wheaton in the second overtime means the team was just short of the game going into a penalty kick shootout. Wheaton, being the number one team in the CCIW, is likely the hardest team the Viking could have faced, but they gave that game everything they had.

“We fought hard and gave the number one seated team a run for their money,” Castoe said. “I had never been more proud of my team.”

With a hard-fought season coming to a close, the team has high hopes for future seasons. The Wheaton game has left a mark on this team and will continue to inspire them to work hard for next season.

“Games like our last one at Wheaton are the types of games that are hard to forget about and they turn into fuel for training for the next time we get to play them,” Fank said. “I know that no one will be forgetting this Wheaton game anytime soon, and I know that as we start off season training it will be games like that one that encourage us to push ourselves.”

The women’s soccer team is ready to build off of everything they have learned this season and work hard in the off season. With three seniors graduating, the team is a very young group with tons of talent. It will be exciting to see all that this team accomplishes in future seasons.