Away from home, the women’s soccer team defeated Illinois College 3-1 last Sunday, snatching up the fourth and final spot in the MWC Tournament. The game started off poorly for the Vikings, who surrendered a goal in the third minute of play. But not five minutes later, senior Cadence Peckham assisted fellow senior Mallory Koula for a goal to tie.
Then, just after the half, Peckham assisted Koula once again for the go ahead score. The Vikings never looked back, securing their second Tournament appearance in as many years.
Several weeks ago, Lawrence had five conference games to play. Realistically, they knew that they would have to win most, if not all of those games in order to make the tournament.
Enter senior forward Koula. Over that five game stretch, she scored 13 goals.
Okay, wait a minute. That means Koula almost averaged a hat trick per game and scored over 70 percent of the team’s goals. That, my friends, is dominance. With that said, we all know that soccer is a team sport — which means that someone has to set up the goal scorer.
Stepping up to fill that role were freshman Midfielder Keli Muchowski and senior forward Natalie Jin, who had six and four assists respectively during that span. Enter Peckham, who added three assists of her own.
And finally, we know that soccer is not solely an offensive sport. Junior goalkeeper Cassie Burke took the role of anchoring the defense. She can always be heard calling the shots from between the posts during games. Over the Vikings’ last five conference games, Burke allowed just five goals.
This remarkable stretch by the team was made possible thanks to a mix of spectacular independent performances, contributions from players of all years, and general incredible team play. Peckham commented, “We’ve turned our game around this season and we’re peaking at the perfect time.”
It has been a long road for the team and this tournament berth is a sweet accomplishment for the tight-knit group.
Peckham reflected, “Like all good things, it took time, patience and persistence.” And that’s exactly what this team has been: persistent.
Even under repeated must-win pressure situations, this team produced and persisted. With that said, the girls will have to persist just a little longer in a big semi-finals matchup with St. Norbert’s on Friday — at St. Norbert’s.
“We expect Norbert’s to come out hard, but we will come out harder,” said Peckham. “We’ve got game and we’re ready to bring it.”