11 Nov Catawba College Women’s Soccer Looks to Capture SAC Tournament after Undefeated Regular Season
November 12, 2021
by Davis Fields
A South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Tournament opening round win at the Frock Soccer Complex for the Catawba Women’s Soccer Team over Newberry this past Saturday began the Lady Indians’ quest for the SAC Tournament Title, after claiming the No. 1 Seed and regular season SAC crown last Wednesday night at home.
The 1-0 victory Saturday night, courtesy of a Helen Summerell goal in the 52nd minute, was the perfect way to start the postseason off for a Catawba team that went undefeated in the regular season. Coach Nick Brown’s squad posted a stellar 16-0-2 record, the most wins in a regular season since 2004 when the team finished with a record of 16-2-3 and the first ever undefeated regular season in the history of the program, which began in 1990. When asked what it meant for the players, coaches, and the program at Catawba to have a season like this, Coach Brown responded that “It means the world to me. I’ve been around this program as a fan/Coach since 2001, and to be a part of such a historic season has been remarkable. It’s a testament to these players and the work they put in every day.”
The 2021 team has been one for the record books beyond the wins, featuring a potent offense to partner with a lockdown defense. The offense has been led by Hannah Dunn, Sydney Jimmo, and the aforementioned Summerell, who have combined for a whopping 32 of Catawba’s 56 goals. Those 56 goals this season are the second most all time for a team, trailing only the mark of 72 scored by that same 2004 squad. Dunn led the way with 16. Not to be outdone, the midfield trio of Jovana Sanchez, Sharon Mayes, and Kasey Hahn were everywhere on the field, racking up 19 assists and 27 total points on the season.
The defense, meanwhile, established themselves as second to none. Led by Katie Beck, Katie Webb, Kelly Havens, and a platoon at left back of Kasey McLamb, McKenzee Johnson, and Kylie Vilseck, they conceded a stunning five goals total over the course of the season. Backstopped by goalkeepers Sierra Davis and Jamie Kazenmayer, they combined to force 12 shutouts and never allowed more than a goal in the other five games. The five goals set the Catawba Women’s record, beating the previous number of 11 from 1993; the 12 shutouts also tied the school record.
Asked about what separated this team from previous squads and allowed them to have such a season, it was easy to pinpoint two key elements the players consistently stated: the bond between everyone on the team and hard work. “There is a willingness to work for each other that creates such a great environment,” added Sanchez. “The number one attribute this team has is selflessness; this team is always keeping the best interest of the team it’s priority.” Dunn went a step further, praising the team’s ‘family bond’ as it’s number one quality and shared a strong belief that “I don’t think you could pick another group of 30+ girls and the get the same environment that is found on this team.”
The element of hard work was one especially touted by Beck, who noted a correlation between the team’s training habits being “leaps and bounds” better than previous years and as a result the team itself “exuding confidence in each other and our own individual capabilities.” Beck emphasized that “Day in and day out, rain or shine, we go to practice ready to give everything we have…Having such a great season is the reward for the early morning lifts, late night practices, practices in the heat and cold, and all of the hours put in watching film.” This sentiment was one proudly echoed by Coach Brown, who praised his team’s tendency to work “each and every day no matter what we are doing…They want to do things the best they can.”
Members of the team also took home hardware to show for their success this season; Nick Brown was named SAC Coach of the Year, Hannah Dunn’s 16 goals and five assists notched her SAC Offensive Player of the Year, and Katie Beck’s contributions at the heart of the defense earned her SAC Defensive Player of the Year. Beck was also a big offensive presence as she scored eight goals, good for third on the team this season.
Catawba is hoping the momentum from this season continues to translate further into this postseason, with the next round rapidly approaching. The Women’s soccer team returns to action this Friday, November 12th, as they head to neutral-site Mecklenburg to play their SAC Tournament Semifinals match against Carson-Newman at 11:00 a.m. and compete for the chance to advance to the final on Sunday, November 14th at 1:00 p.m.
About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college conveniently located in Salisbury, N.C. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, Catawba is a learning community providing students unique opportunities to discover their vocation, calling, passions, and purpose as they prepare to reach their highest potential. The College offers more than 70 undergraduate and three graduate programs allowing students to explore diverse interests and create their own academic pathway. Additional information is available at catawba.edu.
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