The women’s soccer team looks to exceed expectations once again in this 2016 season.
The Comets finished 2015 with a record of 11-6-3, losing to Calvin in the MIAA tournament semifinals.
Second-year coach Kim McGowan went into this year with 12 new recruits. Nearing the end of the season, Olivet sits at a record of 8-7-1 overall and a MIAA record of 6-6-1.
The Comets are in fifth place of the MIAA standings with three games left in the season as of press time.
A scorching start
The 2016 campaign started off strong as freshman Ashley Romanowski found the back of the net three times in the Comets 6-0 shutout against Bluffton (Ohio) at the Cutler Athletic Complex. Junior Isabelle Leon netted two goals in the season opener, along with an assist to sophomore Emma Essen’s goal.
Olivet then traveled to play another out-of-conference opponent on Sept. 3 at Elmhurst (Illinois), where the team was shutout 3-0. The next day, Olivet won against North Park in Chicago by a score of 2-1. Freshman Abby Radcliffe and Romanowski scored the two goals, capping off the Illinois road trip.
MIAA play began for the Comets on Sept. 7 with a game at Adrian. A 1-1 score sent the game into extra minutes, with both goals coming in the first half. Essen scored the goal at the end of the second half, answering Adrian’s early goal. Olivet tied the Bulldogs after two periods of overtime, the only tie of the season so far for the Comets.
Two following road matches for the women’s soccer team ended up as two more wins. The Comets scored seven goals against St. Mary’s (Indiana) in South Bend Sept. 10, three of which coming from Leon. Other goals for Olivet came from Junior Emily Reinecke, Essen, Romanowski, and junior Miranda Quick. Olivet traveled to Alma Sept. 15, defeating the Scots 3-2 in a comeback win. All three goals came in the second half of regulation, and freshman goalkeeper Brooklyn Burel made 9 saves from the 19 shots she faced.
A 4-1 loss came next for the team at Albion on Sept. 24, with Leon erasing the shutout in the second half with her goal in the 61 minute. Her performance for the week was recognized with the MIAA Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week Award. "I feel like we have an upper hand just because we have more passion to win." Said Leon on her teams performance in 2016
Olivet took a big step forward on Sept. 28 beating Calvin 3-2 in an overtime thriller. Junior Rachel Durocher scored the game winning goal late in the 96 minute of the contest. "I think I might of blacked out. I just saw the ball and thought that this game has to end," said Durocher in a interview.
At the start of the second half of the season, with bug wins against Adrian (2-1) and St. Mary’s (5-0). The two home victories on the Oct. 4 and Oct. 7 got the team back on track. Leon kept her hot streak alive with a goal against Adrian, along with a shot on goal that was deflected off an opposing player for the game winner. Romanowski was also named MIAA offensive player of the week by scoring seven points against St. Mary’s.
The Comets found themselves in a losing slump after giving up three straight to Alma, Hope and Trine. Olivet had Alma down 3-2 after a goal from Leon and two second-half goals from Romanowski. Alma then came back in the Oct. 15 matchup at Cutler, with a goal near the end of regulation and a game winner in OT. The Comets dropped two more with a 4-1 loss at Hope on Oct. 19 and a 4-2 loss at Trine on Oct. 22. Leon notched one goal in each of the games, along with freshman Sarah Feldpausch scoring against Trine.
The Comets finish season play fifth place in the standings, and have a chance to clinch the second straight MIAA playoff birth. Olivet’s final game of the season is against Kalamazoo College on Oct. 31, at 3 p.m. at home.