by Hope Brakenhoff
After the questionable weather that hit the Midwest in late April and early May, it became uncertain if the Greenville Women’s Soccer team would be able to host their spring tournament at all. Even though the morning was chilly and there were clouds all day long, the weather seemed to cooperate long enough for the tournament, giving the team the chance to host. The team is allowed one day of competition during their spring season, along with fifteen practices. Every year, Greenville hosts a seven versus seven tournament and invites many different teams. This year the tournament hosted 12 teams from the area and one team from Indiana.
It was a day full of soccer with the first game starting at 9 in the morning and the last game ending at 7:30 at night. The tournament made for a long day, but every team had a tremendous time and enjoyed every minute of it. The tournament started with group play as every team was in a group of 3 different teams. They played each other before moving on to the quarterfinals or consolation, depending on how they did in their group. The top two teams in each group advanced to quarterfinals, while the last place team in each group went to consolation games.
It was an eventful day for the Greenville women’s team. The team had been training for four weeks before the tournament. Dani Pearce was in her second spring season for the team, and spoke about the training the girls did to prepare for the tournament.“For this season, Coach Dubs combined individual training with team training,” she said. “Usually, the spring is a time for each player to focus on something that they, as an individual player, need to work on. This year we decided we wanted to make the spring season a time to work on team-oriented strategies and skills.” This provided a different feel for the spring season and for the tournament, as it was more focused on the team rather than the individual.
They started their tournament in a group with Rose Hulman and Lincoln Christian University. In the first game, they had a strong showing as they defeated Lincoln Christian 11-3. After defeating Lincoln Christian University, they competed against Rose Hulman in a hard-fought game that led to a 1-1 tie. This led to the team getting second place in their bracket and sent them to the quarterfinals, where they competed against Lindenwood Belleville. After 40 minutes of play, the game ended in a tie. When there is a tie in quarterfinals, it leads to a penalty kick shootout. Greenville did well in the shootout and ended up defeating Lindenwood. Freshman Marjory Coates said, “My favorite moment was probably when we won the quarterfinal game in PKs and we all stormed the field.” This sent them to the semifinals against SouthWestern Illinois College. The team fought hard, but ended up short, losing 2-1. Although their day ended after the semifinals, they played hard and well all day and showed many positive signs for their upcoming season in the fall.
Even though the girls wanted to win the tournament this year, they found many other positives from the day that didn’t revolve around what they did on the field. Coates also commented on the other teams, saying, “It was a great experience getting to know girls from other schools and getting to find out more about them.” At the end of the day, the team learned about sticking together. Pearce commented on the day, saying, “I was much more proud leaving the fields this year knowing we worked as a team and challenged each other. It was perfect weather to play in and we actually had quite a few fans, which made it even more fun.” The Greenville women’s soccer team played for each other and for God. Although Rose Hulman won the tournament that day, the Greenville girls truly felt happy with who they are and how they played because they played together, as a team and as a family.