The Maroons’ season ended on Friday in a dramatic 0-0 (4-3) shootout loss to Wartburg in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Championships. The shootout came after two scoreless overtime periods, in which the Maroons’ stellar defense shined.
“Going into Friday’s game against Wartburg, we just knew that we had to play smart, quickly, and be the hardest working team on the field,” said third-year Emma Gormley. By most measures, this was the case. The Maroons outshot Wartburg (18-5), had more corner kicks (10-3), and racked up far fewer fouls (3-8).
“We clearly were the better team,” commented head coach Amy Reifert. Giving due credit to the Knights, she added, “They were very solid defensively, but we clearly dominated the game.”
“I would not say the loss came from unlucky breaks, but rather our inability on that particular night to find the back of the net,” added Gormley.
Unfortunately, despite opportunities to score, the women had difficulty getting it in the net. “We did everything right leading up to the goal, but that final finishing element was what ailed us,” continued Gormley.
“We played well. The kids fought consistently the entire game,” said Reifert. ”We made passes. We switched the point of attack. That’s the real travesty. We should’ve won the game.”
Of the fourth-year captains Emily Benoit, Claire Denz, Sarah Loh, and Kate Manuelli, she remarked: “[They are] tremendous leaders who brought together a group with 11 new players and just did an outstanding job creating a team dynamic and leading with their work rate, talent, and demeanor both in practice and in every game.”
“Clearly,” she ended, “there are going to be some big holes to fill.”
“It was a blessing to just be able to play with such a wonderful team because we all are extremely hard-working individuals,” noted first-year Liz Doman. “It is incredible how close we all are and how much we care for one another. Most of that credit, however, goes to our coaches and to our seniors. They paved the way.”
It may be too early to speculate about next season, but it seems that the legacy the fourth-years like Loh, Denz, and Benoit established this year will go a long way toward shaping next year’s team into “a force to be respected,” as Doman put it.