WHEATON, Ill.— The talent level of Wheaton College’s women’s soccer team proved too much for Webster University women’s soccer in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday, Nov. 9.
Wheaton, the regional tournament host school, started quickly and kept the pedal down all game. The first goal of the game came from Wheaton sophomore Sarah Guidera in the 10th minute, and the lead was built on from there to a final score of 4-0.
Webster had the task of taking down the No. 11 in the country. Last season, the Wheaton Thunder were the national runner-ups.
The Gorloks knew they were the underdogs coming into the game, but it was something they have been used to in many of their nonconference games this season.
“A lot of people doubted what we were, what we could do with no senior leadership, extremely young and this team set a goal from day one,” said Webster coach Luigi Scire. “They achieved all their goals as a collective unit, and they believed in themselves and they carried it through for an entire season. They got better as the season went on.”
The usual stout defense of Webster was outmatched with the numbers and speed of Wheaton in the forward position. Two goals from Wheaton freshman Ally Witt were her 16th and 17th of the year.
Webster goalie Jessica Davis is a player right along with that young trend this team had. A sophomore in her first ever NCAA tournament game, she had to face 15 shots on goal and let only four hit the back of the net.
“We’re disappointed we couldn’t do more we’re a better team than what the score shows,” Davis said. “Wheaton did very well controlling our box and did well passing the ball at a quick pace, and I couldn’t get my hands on it.”
Even though there are no seniors on Webster’s team this year, there are still leaders present. Ally Nikolaus, junior midfielder and captain, has led with a voice and by example all season long with a team-leading 11 goals and 10 assists. Against Wheaton, she wouldn’t allow the team to lose their intensity.
Video by Sam Masterson
“I was just trying to keep positive, and I didn’t want anybody to get down on anyone on our side,” Nikolaus said. “We’re a young team, and we already have our sights on next year.
That is what Webster has going for them. No seniors, youth and inexperience in the postseason were a disadvantage this year. Next season, the Gorloks will have the experience at their side.
“For this team, no one had experienced the NCAA tournament before,” Scire said. “I think they walk away with a sense that if they continue to work hard and improve, it might be different next year.”