WILMINGTON, Ohio – Throughout the months of July and August, the Wilmington College Office of Athletic Communications, through the lens of Director Mitch Blankespoor, is going to revisit some of its favorite memories of each sport throughout the 2019-20 academic year.
Today's entry will be memories for the women's soccer season. Click below to view past entries.
After a pair of 1-0 defeats to begin the season, I'll remember the rest of September for quite some time. Sitting at 0-2-0 and carrying a lengthy minute streak without scoring, That all would change, however, on September 11 at Cincinnati Christian University (CCU). Freshman Taylor Huffman broke the drought with an unassisted goal in the 34th minute, but the Quakers broke the game open fully with five second-half goals. CCU did battle back to tie the game 2-2 less than five minutes into the second half, but two more goals from both Huffman and Maddie Scott gave the visitors a 6-2 victory.
Those two goals surrendered by the Wilmington difference would be the last in the entire month. The Quakers, anchored by an experienced defense and freshman goalkeeper Lauren Galloway, who would go on to earn All-Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) honors, tallied five consecutive scoreless sheets. Victories over Bethany College (West Virginia), Earlham College, Wittenberg University, Transylvania and Defiance College.
The Quakers opened OAC play at Heidelberg University, and the game, which was scoreless after 90 minutes, went into overtime. Heidi Edens was the hero this time, scoring unassisted eight minutes into the extra session and in the process, pushed Wilmington's unbeaten streak to seven games.
What followed as a low point in the season, a defeat at the hands of Muskingum University for the first time in program history. The Quakers rebounded with victories over the University of Mount Union and Marietta College at home. After defeats to Otterbein University (4-1) and Capital University (3-0), Wilmington put together what Head Coach Steve Spirk called, "the best game of the year", at John Carroll University (JCU).
Thought I didn't see the last two games of the year in person, I did follow them closely online. The contest at JCU, which ended in a 2-0 victory, was extra sweet for two reasons. First, the victory clinched a berth in the OAC Tournament. Second, it avenged a defeat at the hands of the Blue Streaks the year prior that knocked Wilmington out of postseason contention. After a scoreless first half, Courtney Ryan scored her first goal of the year unassisted in the 56th minute, and Abby Spirk put the game away with a goal assisted by Tiffany Hayes in the 70th minute.
The win setup the Quakers as the No. 6 and final seed in the OAC Tournament. This meant a trip to Otterbein for a quarterfinal game – a contest that would play out much differently than the previous 4-1 defeat. Mackenzie Weaver took a Riley Allison pass and scored the game's first goal in the 21st minute. The visitors held the lead for nearly 60 minutes unit the OAC's top scorer, Bella Shivley, tied it up. The Cardinals would go on to win it two minutes into double overtime, but the resiliency and fight of Wilmington to hang with and nearly defeat a team it had lost to by three goals I'll always remember.