Last Friday, women’s soccer had their senior night. Colorado College played their final home game of the season against the Air Force Academy. The game ended in a decisive CC victory, 2-0, a fitting final home game for the team’s seven seniors: Jennifer Stoot, Jessie Ayers, Kaeli Vandersluis, Jaclyn Silsby, Mary Bowman, Rachel Herron, and Jordan Savold.
After passes from junior midfielder Sarah Schweiss and senior forward Rachel Herron, senior midfielder Jessie Ayers scored the first goal of the game in the 30th minute. It was the 10th game-winning goal of her career.
In the 59th minute, during the second half of the game, Schweiss scored with a penalty kick, raising the score to 2-0 where it remained for the rest of the game.
CC dominated in offensive attempts with a 26-6 advantage in shots. Freshman goalkeeper Rowan Frederiksen didn’t have to defend against a shot on goal until there were less than six minutes left in the game. But in the 88th minute, Frederiksen dived for a save to preserve her sixth shutout of the season.
Although the Tigers will soon be saying goodbye to seven valued and talented players, senior Ayers is confident about the team’s future.
“One of the best things about the team is our mentality,” said Ayers. “It’s one thing to improve your skills as an individual, and that has certainly been a part of my four years at CC, but without the drive to work for your teammates, we wouldn’t be successful.”
“Knowing that everyone on the team has each other’s back is crucial to building a winning program. Since we have that foundation, I think the soccer program has a bright future. I’m excited to see where this team goes,” Ayers continued.
With this win, CC extended their unbeaten home streak to 23 (20-0-3). After their victorious senior night, the Tigers traveled to California on Tuesday to begin the first round of the Mountain West Championship held at San Diego State University.
The Tigers earned a record of 11-5-3 overall this season and were placed as fourth seed in the tournament.
“I have been most impressed by our ability to bounce back after tough moments in games,” said Herron. “Coming off two seasons of winning our regular league and winning conference tournament this past year, I think a lot of people were concerned we wouldn’t know how to handle adversity this year, especially with a completely new back line.”
Herron continued, “Senior day was great not just because we beat a good opponent 2-0, but because we finally showed up for 90 minutes. We didn’t have any mental slips and everyone worked very hard together offensively and defensively. The Air Force game was the best I’ve seen our team move the ball and combine passes all season. I’m looking forward to us keeping that good momentum going into our conference tournament.”
After such a successful season, things definitely looked promising for the Tigers as they headed into their game against Utah State.
Fifth seed Utah State started off the game with a header goal at 23:16 into the first half. They held the 1-0 lead for the rest of the period, but CC came back in the second half to tie it up and take the lead.
The Tigers scored three goals in less than 14 minutes. Ayers scored the first CC goal at 63:21 off an assist from Schweiss. 5:25 later, Schweiss put CC in the lead with a goal of her own, with an assist from senior midfielder Jordan Savold. This was Schweiss’ fifth game winning goal of the season.
Less than ten minutes later, Ayers solidified CC’s lead with another goal, this time assisted by Herron. The goal raised Ayers to fifth place in CC’s career points list with 72 points. The game ended with a CC win, 3-1.
Along with these team victories, the Tigers also celebrated some individual achievements this week. Four players earned all-Mountain West honors. Ayers and Schweiss were named to the first team, and Herron and senior midfielder Kaeli Vandersluis were named to the second.