Historic Soccer Season Sets Up Eagles for Future Success
This Fall saw our women’s soccer team go farther than ever before. Not only did they qualify to compete in the NAIA national championship in Alabama, but they made it all the way to the semifinal round before they were knocked out by Northwestern Ohio (who would go on to win the entire tournament). This is the first time NU soccer has ever made it to the semifinals, and the first time the NAIA has ever seen an unseeded team make the top 4.
“It was an incredible experience, but all credit to the ladies,” Said head coach Bryan Chud. “They dug deep and took what they were doing to a whole different level. We were playing well throughout the season, but they just raised everything up a gear and played probably above what they themselves even thought they could do.”
This is especially impressive, as this is Chud’s first season with the team and as a head coach. Such a strong finish reflects well on the team’s commitment to their goals and to one another. By the time the national tournament came around, Chud and the Eagles were working together as if they had been together much longer than a single season.
From the very beginning of the tournament, the Eagles were up against steep odds. Their first match was against Biola, who was ranked 6th in the nation. But that didn’t stop the Eagles. With a 2-0 victory, they set the tone for their competitiveness in the coming games.
“To take [Biola] down, that was unbelievable,” Chud said. “And then to go on and win again at the next level when nobody at the tournament was expecting us to do anything. When we beat Reinhardt, they were looking at us a bit different.”
Though the Eagles’ journey ended before the finals, they were able to return with their heads held high knowing that they accomplished much this season and in Alabama. Looking forward to next season, coach Chud was hopeful. “We’re set up to be very competitive for a long time.”
The key to maintaining this level of competition will be recruiting well, as there are several key players who will graduate in May. “The nice thing is once you do this type of thing, the recruits are coming out of the woodwork. So it’s an exciting time.”
We are so proud of our incredible women’s soccer team and their accomplishments, and we look forward to another exciting season next year.