Date: November 19, 2008
After a successful 6-3-1 season, the Andrews University Lady Cardinals soccer team was invited to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s (USCAA) National Tournament. The tournament was by invitation only to the top eight USCAA teams. Ranked as the fourth seed, 18 Lady Cardinals left for Burlington, Vt., on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008, with goals to play hard and make it to the championship game in mind.
After traveling on a bus all night long, the team arrived at 6 a.m. and had only six hours to rest before their first game against New Hampshire Institute of Technology. Despite being exhausted, the Cardinals won their first game 1–0 with Traci Washington, nursing major and team midfielder, scoring the only goal. The win advanced the team to the second round game on Friday, when they would face off against the number one seed, Southern Virginia University (SVU).
“I felt okay after getting some sleep on the bus, but it took a while to really get into the game. It took me the whole half before I started playing to my full potential,” said Emily Kutzner, biology major and team midfielder.
Following their first victory, the Cardinals celebrated with the seven other teams at an Italian eatery in downtown Burlington, giving them a chance to bond as a team and mingle with other players.
The next day*, consolation games were held for the four losing teams as the Cardinals prepared for their big game against SVU, who had won 8–0 in round one. A victory would secure the Cardinals a spot in the championship game the following night.
“I was very proud of our girls,” said head coach Mickey Kutzner, research professor of physics, when describing his team’s performance against SVU. “I thought they played a heroically excellent game, even though we came up a little short.” The tough matchup left the Cardinals one goal behind with a final score of 1–0, SVU victory. SVU went on to take the national tournament, winning 3–0 in the final game.
On Friday afternoon, before the Sabbath hours, a dinner cruise/awards ceremony was held on Lake Champlain. An All-American team was selected from the teams represented. Mary Cregan, engineering major and team defender, was chosen from the Cardinals for her defensive skills.
After the awards ceremony, the team packed up the bus and headed for New York to spend the night in Saratoga Springs. They attended a small church the next morning and, after potluck, hiked along the Mohawk River. The Cardinals trip ended early Sunday morning when they arrived back in Michigan, feeling tired but content.
“I feel like we are a young team with a lot of freshmen and underclassmen, so we are looking to continue to improve. We’re really excited about the future of this team,” says Kutzner.
*During the event, USCAA tournament directors were fully aware of the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath-keeping belief of the Cardinals and were more than willing to provide an accommodating schedule that did not conflict or infringe upon the Sabbath.
-Written by Ashleigh Jardine, student news writer, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication