Women lose to second-seed Wartburg

by Katie Buchholz

The season is at an end for women’s soccer after a 6-0 loss to second-seeded Wartburg College in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Tournament Semifinals on Nov. 2.

The Storm finished out the season 13-6-2 and 5-3 in the IIAC.

“This season was a great team effort,” second year head coach Ryan Sander said. “Everyone raised their level of play throughout the season, which raised the play of our team.”

Sander said the team knew a win was possible, but a number of factors led to the loss.

“Our team was mentally prepared, after losing (to) them earlier in the year 2-1 in overtime; we know we could have beat them,” Sander said.

The Knights scored during their first shot, and Sander said this early goal threw the Storm off.

“I think that it shocked the girls and they didn’t recover until it was 3-0,” Sander said.

Senior Corie Peterson said there were communication problems and the team lost focus.

“We had some bad plays and we overreacted, and because of that we became concerned about doing everybody else’s job and forgot what we were supposed to do,” Peterson said.

Sander said that these problems and others will be addressed for next season.

“I look at the game of soccer as a big shiny puzzle,” Sander said. “You must consistently take each piece out, shine it up, then put it back into place and go to the next one.”

Freshman Nicole Pirie said that despite the loss she is ready for Wartburg next year.

“I wish we could have let the seniors off on a better note than that, but the rest of the team is ready for some revenge next year,” Pirie said.

Two season highlights came during the games against Luther and Augustana. The Storm beat the Norse 2-1 during Luther’s homecoming, which positioned the team in third place in the conference.

“It was a game we knew we needed,” Sander said. “It was a great show of heart and determination.”

According to Peterson, the Augustana game was one of the best games the Storm has played all season, going into double overtime and ending up tied 1-1.

“It was good to go to their field and have some payback for them beating us last season,” Peterson said.

The Augustana game told Simpson it could compete with the best in the region and was a needed morale boost. The team used this energy to support itself with 16 wins this season compared to last year’s seven.

Peterson said a major part of this success came from the team’s chemistry.

“We had good team chemistry on and off the field, which I think helped us play better as a team,” Peterson said.

Pirie said the team became as close as family over the season.

“The most I learned is that the Simpson women’s soccer team is a family,” Pirie said. “We spent hours upon hours together, and became closer than I could have ever imagined.”

The team has bonded over the course of the season both at practices and during trips to games.

“My favorite memory of the season was beating Central at home in the first round of the conference tournament and making a fort in the back of the bus,” senior Andrea Duncan said.

Being a senior, this was Duncan’s last time playing with the Simpson women’s soccer team.

“Everyone on the team is so much fun,” Duncan said. “I already miss seeing them every day.”

Peterson is also going to miss the Storm and the team’s shared love of soccer.

“I will miss the girls and going to practice every day with a group of girls that are playing because they love to play,” Peterson said.

According to Sander, the Storm has built a solid foundation to expand on for next season.

“I’m ready to get started now,” Sander said. “I think we all feel like we left a little bit out on the field and we all could have done more. I like that in our players; it adds fuel to the fire for next season.”

The team’s younger players are looking forward to next year and continued improvement.

“Simpson soccer was an experience that I will treasure and I’m excited for the next season,” Pirie said.