Women's Soccer gears up for NCAA Division III championship tournament

This weekend Joe Bean Stadium will be packed as Wheaton Women’s Soccer makes their 21st appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament.

“I think we are in a good place right now and looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us,” said Head Coach Pete Felske.

Last week, Felske was awarded the 2018 CCIW Head Coach of the Year, marking the 12th time he has received this title. The Thunder women’s current overall record stands at 16-3-1, with a perfect conference record of 8-0-0, earning the team an at-large bid despite their tie with Illinois Wesleyan in the CCIW Championship game last Saturday, Nov. 3.

Victories over major competitors, such as University of Chicago and Hope College, helped to push the team through conference play. In an email interview with the Record Felske wrote, “We have improved how quickly we move the ball and it has allowed us to transition more quickly from offense to defense and vice versa.”

The packed midfield of the Thunder 3-6-1 formation has proved advantageous for the team’s success, with leadership from senior All-American and CCIW First Team member Madison Schoenbeck, as well as from junior Bailey Wolf and senior Hannah Cockrum.

Sophomore Sarah Tomich, recognized as the CCIW Defensive Player of the Year, will lead the defense Friday evening alongside senior captain Suzanne Kimble and freshman Nicole Wright. “Mentally we are solid. We have to score and the opportunities will come. We have heart and so we’re excited to go into the tournament,” says Tomich.

Confidence in the freshman goalkeeper Lauren Ketchum has also encouraged the Thunder’s attack against opponents. On the offensive end, freshman Aeva Graber, the CCIW Newcomer of the Year, works with her teammates to carry the positive momentum from season through to the National Tournament.

The Thunder will be hosting their first opponent, University of Northwestern (Minn.), for the first time since 2014, this Friday at 5 p.m. in Joe Bean Stadium. A match between Loras College and Adrian College will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s winners will play Saturday at 6 p.m. to determine who advances into the next round of play.

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