Historic women’s soccer season ends with NCAA tournament loss to Penn State

Elise Covert, Staff Writer

A record-breaking season for the women’s soccer team came to an end on Nov. 11 with a 6-0 loss to Penn State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Penn State, the defending national champion, dominated possession for the majority of the match, outshooting the Bison 19-5. For the Orange and Blue, Alexis Gannon ’17 led the offense with three shots. However, Penn State’s offside trap caught the Bison front line many times, preventing any consistent offensive rhythm.

The Nittany Lions were up 2-0 at halftime, and added a third goal less than a minute into the second half. They would tally three more in the half to gain the 6-0 win. Keeper Jessica Ratner ’17 finished with six saves on the night. She ends her collegiate soccer career with the most shutouts and in a four-way tie for most wins by a women’s goalie in program history. She is also Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year.

“From start to finish, this season has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. We set our goals during preseason and worked all season long to achieve them, and we can finally say that everything we’ve done has paid off immensely. I am so proud of this team and thankful every single day that I was able to be surrounded by so many inspiring people,” Ratner said.

The loss signified the close of a remarkable season for the team, who finished with an overall record of 16-2-2. They captured the Patriot League title for the first time in 11 years and made the NCAA tournament for the third time in program history.

Despite the loss, members of the team remained positive in reflecting on the season they’ve had.

“I am so proud of this group of amazing women. They worked extremely hard from November of 2015 after our championship loss to Boston to the final whistle against Penn State on Friday night. They set high goals and worked tirelessly to achieve them,” head coach Kelly Cook said.

The end of the season also marked the end of the collegiate soccer careers for six seniors.

“I would like to thank our seniors for their great leadership and drive,” Cook said. “We will miss them dearly, but will continue to grow the championship culture they have worked so hard to create and pass on to the future,” Cook said.

Bison soccer fans should look forward to the team’s upcoming seasons with returning talent, including 2016 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Kendall Ham ’18.

“It is exciting to think that this is just the start, and I cannot wait to get back to work and see what we can build for next year,” assistant coach David Madsen said.

The younger players look forward to carrying the team dynamic and success into the rest of their careers at the University.

“That feeling of pride, hugging my teammates, and seeing the tears in my best friends eyes, made every sprint, every practice, every hard time, worth it. I am so extremely proud to be part of a team with so much drive and character,” Lilly Courts ’20 said.

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