Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Dubuque

The University of Dubuque women's soccer team picked to finish fifth in the league, overcame the under dog status en route to winning the 2009 Iowa Conference Women's Tournament and finishing the 2009 season with its best record in school history and it's first play-off appearance. An amazing 15 wins showed their opponents this season, the UD Spartans are among the best in Division III and in the NCAA Division III North Region.

Their hopes of extending their wins ended on Saturday night at Macalester College in St. Paul, MInnesota, the hosts of the First Round NCAA Championship contest, in a loss 0-2 to the #1 seed and unbeaten Concordia-Moorehead Cobbers whose team is comprised of 14 upperclassmen.

UD earned the lowest seed in the four-team site, a #4 seeding by the NCAA committee and it seemed to fit this young team which never attained the respect it deserved throughout 2009. A team which competed without a senior and 14 underclassmen proved a team can win in the Iowa Conference and against ranked competition. The future looks bright for the Spartans as they move forward, gaining national play-off experience and changing their goals for next season. Expect to see coach Jason Berna and his team a playoff contender as he earned a taste of what can be accomplished from hard work in the off-season.

Under the sunset of a Minnesota winter, the Saturday night chill hung in the air as the contest kicked off. The Spartans were just a step slow in the opening few minutes and the unbeaten Cobbers tried to take advantage early, but goal keeper Natalie Baker did what she has done all season and that was keeping the opponent from scoring. Her defense appeared to inspire the Spartans and they took control of the opening half and played on the Cobbers side of the field to end the first period knotted at 0-0.

UD fell behind at 61:27 when the Spartans gave up a goal after a 40 yard free kick which got served inside for the first point of the match. Late in the game at 81:26, a goal kick by Baker was deflected into the foot of the Cobbers only scorer this evening, Sarah Rounds, who turned, found herself open, and punched it back into the Spartans goal which would be the final score 0-2.

UD finished with five shots and one being on goal. Baker made five first half saves and three second half saves. IIAC Player of the Week Sara Fassbinder made two shots while Emily Azinger finished with a pair of shots herself. Megan Hendler had one shot in the defeat.

The Spartans complete their year with a 15-6-1 overall record.