Cedarville Women’s Soccer Eliminated by Ferris State in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament

By: Maggie Fipps

The snow was cleared, the slate was wiped clean, and the Cedarville women’s soccer team stepped onto the field with ice in their veins. However, the Ferris State Bulldogs prevailed, taking down Cedarville 3-1. 

Ferris State literally kicked and screamed their way into this match, taking down Ashland on nine penalty kicks last week. Cedarville had an easier path, defeating McKendree 3-1.

In the 25th minute, Ferris State’s leading scorer Isabella Zamborini separated from defenders and hit a low strike into the goal. This was the first goal in the harsh winter conditions, which allowed the team to assert their dominance early. The Jackets learned that painful lesson, but the night was still young. Anytime Zamborini entered the goal box after that, she attracted three defenders like moths to a flame. 

All offensive efforts from Cedarville would end in chip shots into the box, the kicks would glance off of a defender’s hands or the goalpost. A free kick with six seconds left in the first half gave Cedarville some anxiety, but they escaped down only 1-0 going into the half.

Again, the Bulldogs played a game of keep away for the second half, keeping the ball in their possession. Every time the Jackets got into an offensive position, the Ferris State Bulldogs converged like a golden cloud.

Cedarville had a near goal in the 19th minute after bringing their starters off the bench. The ball hit the crossbar, dropping straight down into a scrum of players. This glimmer of hope gave life to the lethargic Cedarville offense; the desperate prospect of being eliminated from the tournament weighed on their minds.

However, the Bulldog’s midfielder Jessie Bandyk kicked in the corner kick over the hands of goalie Brooke Ackley, extending their lead to 2-0.

Not willing to back down, Cedarville’s midfielder Mary Kate Wyer answered a mere 41 seconds later with a goal of her own. But the Bulldogs crushed the spirits of the Lady Jackets with a crisp goal into an open net to ice the frigid game. 

The indelible image of Megan McClish and Hannah Sareyka being embraced by assistant coach Dr. Kevin Roper as they cried embodied the sad end of a record-breaking season for the Lady Jackets. They were led by seven seniors who made this team what it is today. 

“They’ve done really awesome things on the soccer field,” head coach Jonathan Meade said. “But how they’ve poured into each other’s lives to help build each other up in Christ over their time here, it’s been really special.” 

Their last prayer circle ended with their rallying cry the whole season: 

“For him!” the team cheered, and Meade hopes they take that passion into whatever comes next. 

Maggie Fipps is a sophomore journalism student and the sports editor of Cedars. She enjoys playing the piano and thrifting, and you may spot her around campus sporting Packers gear head to toe.

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