Lady Trailblazers Blaze Trail To Soccer Playoffs
Right now, the Lewis and Clark Lady Trailblazers are on cloud nine.
They are a team on and off the field, with their lone defeat by a score of just 3-2, and according to Coach Tim Rooney, the Trailblazers are ranked at ninth in the nation.
“When we had our first loss, it gave us the determination to want to fix our mistakes, rather than falling apart,” said Midfielder Jen Eaton. “We became even closer.”
Their team’s numbers paint a picture of a team that is confident; that believes it is a serious title contender. Offensively, the lowest number of goals scored by L&C this season is 3; the highest was 10 in the first game of the regular season. Defensively, eight wins have been shutout victories.
“Our chemistry and positive attitude is what has gotten us this far, and with more hard work and dedication I think we have a good shot,” Eaton said.
The winning streak that the Lady Trailblazers maintained from late August until early October was almost over before it started, thanks to Allen Community College and injuries early in the season. Allen fell just short as Eaton and company triumphed in overtime.
“I love the adrenaline rush you get when your team pulls out a close game win or how a team becomes family,” Eaton said.
“Going into the playoffs and the end of the season, our team will be looking to keep playing with confidence and keep working hard and as a team,” said Sweeper Claire Skaggs. “I chose to be a Trailblazer because I saw how the team worked together last year when I watched a game, and I knew that it was what I wanted to be a part of.”
Since the defeat at St. Charles, the Lady Trailblazers have shifted into an entirely different gear. The team is ranked third on the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) website in goals (85) and assists (77). L&C is still 6-0 at home, 9-1 on the road, and have only had a single minor infraction all season.
When asked if this squad could become a dynasty, Rooney said, “That’s for other people to decide.”
“When it comes to the postseason, you throw the records out and start all over again,” he said.
While some minor adjustments may have been necessary on defense, the plan of attack is one thing that has not been thrown out. On November 3, the Lady Trailblazers were awarded the Region 24 title after a 4-1 triumph over Parkland. If this group can make it past their next hurdle, the District Finals on November 10, the next step will be the NJCAA National Championship game on November 19.
In related news, the L&C men’s soccer team has had a slightly more turbulent year, however they have gone unbeaten in all previous stages of the postseason and will play for the NJCAA Men’s National title. This final game will also take place on November 19. The times and opponents for these future match-ups have not yet been announced.
Update: Added November 12, 2013
The Lewis and Clark Community College women’s soccer team lost their district final 0-1 against St. Louis Community College on Sunday, Nov. 10 on the Meramec campus, completing the season 19-2 as NJCAA Division I Region 24 Champions. The men’s team, however, won its district championship in Hillsboro, Mo. against Jefferson College 2-1, earning a trip to the NJCAA Division I Championship Tournament, to be held Nov. 18-23 at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. This will be their first appearance in the national tournament since 1989