After making it all the way to the Elite Eight last season in the NCAA Division II National Championship, there were definitely high hopes for the women’s soccer team this season.
Unfortunately the women’s soccer season came to an early end on Thursday, when the Wildcats lost to Midwestern State 1-0 in the first-round of the Lone Star Conference tournament.
“I think everyone had much higher expectation going into this year with the players we had returning from such a successful run the year before,” head coach Casey Wilson said. “But there were lessons learned which were valuable to all as they mature through this process.”
The 2012 season came off to a very uncharacteristic and slow start, for the ‘Cats, losing as many as three games in a row and falling from the very top to the very bottom of the LSC standings.
But the Wildcats finished the regular season with a four-win sweep against Incarnate Word, Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas Woman’s, and Midwestern State to gain the fifth and final seed in the post-conference tournament.
Leaving the team this season is one of the most talented senior classes the program has seen yet. Midfielder Julie Coppedge, forward Krysta Grimm, goalkeeper Arielle Moncure, and defensive backs Stephanie Heron and Lexi Stirling have all played their final match as Wildcats.
Coppedge wasÂ instrumentalÂ in the teams success as a player for ACU. She has scored 43 points for the ‘Cats on 15 goals and 17 assists. Coppedge has played in every game since she first stepped foot in Abilene as a freshman in 2009 and has been a consistent playmaker on the team.
Last week, Coppedge became a fourth-time all-conference team member, as well as third-time all-academic team.
Although it was Moncure’s first season as a starting goalkeeper for the Wildcats, she finished with six shutouts, 78 saves, and aÂ 1.09 goals-against average.
As a defender, Stirling has been named to three all-conference teams and the 2011 NSCAA all-region squad.
Grimm has scored 47 points for ACU, with 18 goals and 11 assists.
“The seniors we had this year were big contributors to this program over the past four years, and they will be missed,” Wilson said. “But as coaches, we have prepared to move forward.”
The end of the season also concludes the end of the program’s Division II era as a member of the Lone Star Conference, in which it was very competitive. This season has been the only losing season other than it’s first season back in 2007. (8-11-1)
Although this season was a disappointing one, the Wildcats have had an impressive overall record since their debut season. In the last six years, the ‘Cats have won the regular conference season, (2011) the LSC tournament championship, (2010) and the 2011 NCAA D-II South Central Regional title.
Their overall Division II record stands at 72-41-8. (.628)
“Next year will be a learning experience as well as we start something different,” Wilson said. “I expect that we bounce back and be very competitive. The players here expect to do well regardless of the situation.”