By Abigail Hintz
The 2019 Cedarville women’s soccer regular season is winding down, which means the excitement for the postseason tournament is growing. At the time this article was written, the team was 11-5 overall and 10-2 in the G-MAC. They are in second place in the G-MAC, which allows them to host their first tournament game. The Lady Jackets won 10 of their last 11 matches, including each of their final eight.
Sophomore forward Aleah Martone said she is excited about the possibilities coming up for her team, but it won’t come easy for the Lady Jackets.
“We’re definitely optimistic right now about what the postseason could hold,” she said. “We’re just going to strive to take it one game at a time.”
The G-MAC is a competitive league, even more so this season than in seasons past. Last season, Ohio Valley was seemingly unbeatable, playing at a different level than the rest of the league. This season, the top teams have incredibly close records. Even teams lower on the table can make a move at any moment. The seventh-place team in the conference, Kentucky Wesleyan, recently beat the third-place team, Walsh, 4-1, showing how unpredictable the conference can be.This gives head coach Jonathan Meade confidence in his team’s chances moving forward. He said he expects the team to perform as one of the best in the conference come postseason play.
An added level of excitement for this postseason comes from the G-MAC Tournament being played in Dayton. This allows the team to avoid the hassle of traveling that causes them to miss class and be out of routine. However, they also recognize that the opportunity to play in the tournament will not be gifted to them.
At this point in the season, Meade feels like his team is in a good place both physically and mentally.
“I feel like if we’re healthy and that chemistry continues to be strong, which it has been recently, and we keep that element of [fun] then I think that’s a great recipe for us,” he said.
He says his team is healthier now than they were a month ago or even at the beginning of the season, which he credits to Cedarville’s athletic training staff. This is a big positive for the Jackets because Meade believes that “teams that win championships are healthy teams.”
Specific keys for the team as they move into the postseason are relatively difficult to pinpoint. However, Martone believes it’s going to come down to the day-to-day consistency and unity the team shows. More logistically, they want to score more goals as 11 out of their 16 games have been decided by just one goal.
For Meade, the message for his team is more of the same.
“You’ve got to win now to put yourself in a position to be there later,” Meade said. “You’ve got to put together some Ws and you’ve got to get hot at the right time. If there’s something that we really want to accomplish, from a postseason standpoint, we’ve got to show it now.”
The Lady Jackets have done just that as they enter the G-MAC Tournament during the hottest part of their season.
There’s another aspect of the postseason that drives the Lady Jackets that is not what most people would think of. The farther the team makes it into the tournament, the more opportunity they have to share the Gospel with teams they rarely have the chance to play against. Meade estimates the team is able to pray with 500 athletes throughout the regular season, but a long postseason run could push that number as high as 800. This motivation drives the entirety of their season and bleeds into the tournament.
The Lady Jackets won their final regular season match on Nov. 5 at Ohio Dominican. On Nov. 9, Cedarville will open the G-MAC Tournament as they’ll look to take their first conference tournament championship since 2015.
Abigail Hintz is a sophomore journalism major and Digital Editor for Cedars. She loves reading, playing Spikeball with her friends and watching soccer 24/7.