Marywood women’s soccer team wins the CSAC championship



Photo credit/ Bethany Wade

John Ferraro, Sports Editor

The Marywood women’s soccer team capped off an incredible regular season with a Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) championship. This was the program’s first since 2008.

In front of nearly 500 fans, the #1 seeded Pacers fought their way to a thrilling 3-2 victory over #3 seed Centenary University on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Claiming the program’s second conference championship was not easy. Seventeen minutes into regulation, Centenary’s Chloe Christopher scored the game’s first goal, putting the Pacers down early.

However, the Pacers fought back. Just seconds before the end of the first period, sophomore defender McKenzie Dailey hit the ball in the back of the net to even the game at one.

Andrew Smith, head coach of the women’s soccer team, told his players to raise their level of aggressiveness in the second period.

“I talked about how the referees were allowing [Centenary] to play physical, so our team needed to start playing even more physical in the second half,” said Smith.

The players responded to that message. Just seconds into the period, sophomore forward Megan Swiecicki scored off a long assist from sophomore goalkeeper Aly Moyer to put Marywood in front 2-1.
Smith talked about Moyer’s biggest strength to communicate.

“She’s been a great leader all year for us. She’s very vocal. I call it ‘box presence.’ She has great command of that 18-yard box in front of the goal. She prevents a lot of stuff with her communication,” Smith said.

Moyer was able to keep the game at 2-1, allowing the Pacers to capitalize late. In the 83rd minute, the sophomore midfielder combination of Julie Youngman to Aly Barlok tacked on an insurance goal.

It was at that point in the game where Smith knew his team had won. “When it got to 3-1, I relaxed a little bit. I was able to calm down even after [Centenary] scored the second goal,” said Smith.

Centenary did score a goal in the 86th minute, but the Pacers were able to shut it down after that.
Junior defender Danielle Rill was named the MVP of the CSAC tournament.

Rill did not expect the award and pointed to an entire team effort.

“It does feel great. I had no idea I was going to get it. I was walking toward the back of the line and wondered why my name was being called. But honestly, I think everybody on the team deserved it. We’ve all been working our butts off the entire time and I think everyone is MVP honestly,” said Rill.

The second-year captain also gave some advice to the team before the game that might have helped motivate the team even more.

“I told them before that game, ‘We have been playing this game for years and years. Don’t let that little girl who was playing soccer at 5 years old be disappointed in the current you,’” said Rill.
Senior midfielder and second-year captain in her own right, Emily Gerbehy, shared how much the win meant to her.

“It means the world to me right now. This has been our plan throughout the whole season. Throughout the past four seasons, this is what we wanted. This is what we’ve been training for,” said Gerbehy.

With several freshman and sophomore players on the team, Gerbehy knows how important senior leadership is both on and off the field.

“Being a senior [and] also a second-year captain, I just feel like it’s important to communicate with everyone and be a leader. Not just yelling at them to tell them what to fix on the field, but being there for them off the field for any support and encouragement they need,” said Gerbehy.

The Pacers now move on to face The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), ranked #5 in both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and polls, for the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament this Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.

Smith knows the challenge the team faces, but thinks they have a good shot because of the stiff non-conference competition early in the season.

“We are going to see a strong team no matter what. The [CSAC] conference isn’t as strong from top to bottom,” Smith continued. “But, like I told the players, this is why we play a tough non-conference schedule. If you look at the non-conference schedule, five of the six teams we played were either nationally or regionally ranked. These are the type of teams we are going to see now. And now that we are playing better, we hope to give them a much more challenging game.”

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