- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 16 November 2016
- Written by KEVIN OSBACK | STAFF WRITER
The women’s soccer team played the University of Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Division 1 Tournament. The Hawks fell short 4-1 on Nov. 11 at Klockner Stadium but finished their season with a conference championship.
The Hawks clinched their regular season championship and eventually earned their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship. Although they were very excited, they knew it was going to be a tough first round game in the women’s NCAA Division 1 soccer tournament. Monmouth anxiously watched the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, eventually finding out they would be paying at No. 15 Virginia on Friday. Preparation started Monday night, as the Hawks put together a game plan before traveling to Charlottesville Thursday morning.
This was the first time in history Monmouth and Virginia would face off against each other. Although the Hawks have been drawing first blood lately, Virginia jumped on the board first after senior defender Kristen McNabb scored off a header from around the penalty area. A little over a minute later, Virginia pumped in another goal on a penalty kick by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Offensive Player of the year, senior midfielder Alexis Shaffer. Shaffer wasn’t done yet as she added her second goal from the top of the box, making the score 3-0 Virginia.
Throughout the whole season, the Hawks played with fire, energy, and heart and they refused to be shut out. Redshirt senior forward Rachael Ivanicki scored around the 71st minute to put Monmouth on the board. Ivanicki made program history by becoming the first women’s soccer player to score a goal in the NCAA Division 1 tournament.
“The goal was a team effort,” said Ivanicki when asked about the feeling of scoring the programs first goal in NCAA tournament history. “The result of the game was unfortunate but we all worked so hard this season to get to this point. This shows how we are progressing as a program and hopefully the team can continue to be successful in the future, eventually winning a first round game.”
It was an energy boosting and exciting moment for Ivanicki and the rest of the Hawks. However, the game didn’t end the way they had hoped for as Virginia’s senior forward Morgan Reuther scored around the 84th minute to make the final score 4-1.
“Virginia was a very good team as we expected, however the result doesn’t show that we do deserve to play against big teams and I can’t wait to see the team get there again next year,” said senior captain defender Julie Spracklin. “The season overall was great but I think we can do even better. We also once again showed our dominance in the MAAC and I couldn’t ask for a better ending than leaving with a MAAC regular season championship and a tournament championship.”
To Spracklin’s point, the Hawks were very successful and dominant this season. This year’s team has moved up in the ranks for multiple categories in program history including goals, shut outs and wins. There will be some big shoes to fill, as Monmouth will be graduating a couple key seniors.
“We are striving to advance in the NCAA Tournament and in order to do that we will have to get back to work and improve in all facets of the game. Our senior class left behind a legacy of excellence and words cannot express our gratitude for all they have meant to this program,” said Head Coach Krissy Turner.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics