The Soccer team turned in a historic 2018 season after capturing its first Southland title and the school’s first ever bid to Div. I NCAA tournament.
Junior midfielder Shay Johnson said this season was one she would always remember.
“It feels bittersweet. It was a record-breaking, legendary season to be a part of, but it lasted longer than any other season as well, so we are happy to have a little break from soccer,” Johnson said, “This rest and relaxation was much needed for a lot of us, but I’m excited for spring season already.”
The Wildcats ended their season being 15-6-1 and 7-3-1 in conference. ACU had a record of 7-1-1 at Elmer Gray Stadium and was 5-5 away.
The 15 overall wins of the 2018 season were ACU’s most since the Div. I transition.
ACU’s defense was one of the best in the country, from start to finish. The Wildcats had an average of 0.57 goals-against and 11.8 shots allowed per match. Not only did ACU break an all-time program record at any level and tied a Southland Conference record of a 13 game shutouts, but they also only allowed 13 goals in the entire season. Only one of those goals was scored in the first half.
The Wildcats scored a total of 32 goals this season. Sophomore Christina Arteaga was the leading scorer this season with a total of 10 goals. Senior Dylan Owens and Caity Acosta each scored four, while Johnson scored three and junior Samantha Vestal and freshman Ashley Stamps each scored two.
With it being just the second year of postseason eligibility, the Wildcats powered through the competition, not only qualifying, but winning the Southland Conference Tournament earned their first trip to the NCAA Championships as an automatic-qualifying team.
The Wildcats were considered the underdogs in the first two games of the tournament, but that did not distract them from their end goal. The last game of the SLC Tournament, was suppose to be a close match, but the Wildcats ended up demolishing SFA 3-1.
ACU’s first game ever to be played in an NCAA Tournament was the Baylor Bears. ACU traveled to Waco to tackle the challenge of beating the No.9 ranked team, However, the Southland Conference Champion’s season came to end that game after falling 2-0.
Although, that was not the outcome the Wildcats were looking for, 2018 has built an incredible foundation for the years to come.
The team will say goodbye to six seniors, including Owens, Acosta, Sophie Standifer, Rachel Johnson, Chelsea Reedy and Hannah O’Donnell.
Acosta said she will miss the memories she shared with the team.
“My girls. My best friends. My mandatory work out partners. Soccer is a fun game and everything, but what made it the most enjoyable was my teammates,” Acosta said. “We’re all like each other and love each other so well. I’m going to miss seeing them literally everyday.”
ACU, however, will return several talents, including Arteaga, First Team All-Southland forward, and Alyssia Anuat, the Southland Freshman of the Year.
Johnson will also return to the team, while Mulrooney and Brooke Lenz will help guide the defense once again in the 2019 season.