The Soccer Smart family continues to have success with a record breaking week for trials, an academy player playing against Barcelona and even more players starting their new careers abroad. Read on to find out more.
After a lot of time to reflect, recover and review our season, I have decided to write this blog giving an overview of what we achieved during the fall of 2017. We ended our season with a 17-3-1 overall record, and there were definitely many highs and lows encountered. Looking back, starting off with an overtime loss to Lenoir Rhyne was not what we expected, but it was taken as more of a positive than a negative. We knew that we were in for some tough games during the season and that was proved to us right off the bat. After that disappointment, we bounced back and managed to win 14 of our next 16 games, drawing one of the other two, and losing one. The game we drew was against Queens University of Charlotte, and was arguably the most competitive game I have played in since coming to Limestone. We definitely felt like we should have won that game, but to be fair to Queens they gave us a really good game. It was definitely a very enjoyable game to play in.
The game prior to Queens was away at our rivals Belmont Abbey and we managed to clinch the regular season title after winning 2-1. After losing the deciding regular season championship game 2 years ago we felt it was our chance to get revenge and we definitely did this. Our final regular season game saw us grind out a 1-0 win at Erskine and then we were ready to go into tournament play. We were playing well going into conference tournament, and we knew we had to keep our standards high to achieve the 3-peat we were looking for. As cliché as it sounds, anything can happen in tournament play, and so we knew we had to stay focused. We ended up playing Erskine twice in three days as we faced them again in the first round of conference tournament. As hard as it is to beat teams twice, we knew that playing them on our home field gave us an extra advantage. We came out 2-0 winners in that game and advanced to the semi-finals. North Greenville University awaited in the semi-final, after a tough first half against a solid NGU defense, the game opened up in the second half and we put 3 more goals in to run out 4-0 winners.
We went into the final of the tournament feeling confident, we were ready to play our game and win our third championship in a row. Lees-Mcrae College stood in our way. In the first half we had our chances to take the lead but could not convert, but we managed to get the deciding goal just four minutes into the second half. A third championship in the same amount of years was ours and we could finally celebrate. This win meant that we had an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and we learnt that we would travel to Columbus State University, GA, to face Flagler College. It would be the battle of the Saints and we were ready for the test. The feeling in and around the team was one of positivity, optimism; we felt like we could go there and win. Unfortunately we fell at the first hurdle, we lost the game to Flagler and therefore our season was over. The score line reads a 3-0 loss for us, but that was not a true reflection of the game. It is easy to say now, but we should have been 2 or 3 nil up inside the first 20 minutes. The game should have been over but unfortunately we could not convert. At the end of the day, Flagler took their chances and we didn’t. It was a very hard pill to swallow and the team was very disappointed.
After a successful season we could not advance in the national tournament. However, we know that these tough games and these losses only build us; it gives us something to work on. We are back now for Spring 2018 and are ready to work hard towards our next goals. Click here to read more about Holly and her time in the States.