NewsLady Cougars Post Another Winning Season in 2005
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Mount Vernon Nazarene University women’s soccer team continued its winning tradition in 2005 as the Lady Cougars posted a 12-6-1 overall record, finished second in the American Mideast Conference South Division with a 6-1-1 mark, and achieved the program’s highest NAIA national ranking.
After starting the season with a pair of one-goal losses, MVNU, which was ranked 22nd in the NAIA preseason poll, bounced back to win two of their next three matches all against nationally ranked teams. The Lady Cougars defeated then 16th-ranked Spring Arbor (Mich.) University and then 15th-ranked Saint Xavier (Ill.) University before falling to Houghton (N.Y.) College, who was ranked as high as second in the final NAIA poll.
Following the loss to Houghton, MVNU went 10-1-1 over the team’s final 12 regular-season matches as the Lady Cougars improved to 12-4-1. The team also finished as the AMC South Division runner-up, and MVNU was the only team to defeat AMC South Division champion Tiffin University.
While the Lady Cougars’ postseason run was brief with shutout losses to Ohio Dominican University in the AMC Tournament and Malone College in the National Christian College Athletic Association East Region championship match, MVNU had still posted another successful campaign.
"I know that the team was disappointed by losing early in the postseason this year, but from most teams’ perspectives finishing 12-6-1 and second in the AMC South Division was a good overall season,” said MVNU head coach Jonathan Meade. "I have to commend the players’ efforts for not giving up when they faced many difficulties this season. These bumps along our season journey made it difficult to get into a nice cruise-control mode, so it truly tested the toughness of our team this year.”
"Our out-of-region wins over Spring Arbor, Saint Xavier, and Virginia Intermont (ranked 28th in the final NAIA poll) showed what we were capable of doing this season on a national level,” Meade added. "The most memorable match, though, was defeating conference champion Tiffin for their only conference loss of the season.”
Individually, four seniors led the way for the Lady Cougars as they wrapped up their careers. Leanna Goss, a defender, registered one goal and two assists as she started all 19 matches, while Jessi Gates, another defender, scored one goal while playing in 16 matches. Holly Dyer, a forward, and Bethany Rockwell, a midfielder, also played in 11 and seven matches respectively, and Dyer recorded one assist.
"Our seniors definitely stepped up and provided great leadership through their play and guidance helping us to finish second in the conference,” said Meade. "They leave us as the winningest class in our history with a .739 winning percentage (65-22-3), and they will certainly be missed.”
Sophomore forward Kristy Brandolini put together another stellar season as she led the team with 20 goals and seven assists to move into fourth and third place respectively on the school’s career goals (40) and assists (21) lists. She also tied the program’s single-match scoring mark with four goals in the win at Spring Arbor.
Junior goalkeeper Krysti Wilson posted another solid year with a 1.20 goals against average and four shutouts as the team allowed just 26 goals in 19 matches. She was backed up by freshman Whitney Tatko, who started two matches.
Junior midfielders Laurel Lautensack (six assists), Allison Elifritz (three goals and four assists), Lindsay See (one goal), and Jessica Ward (two goals and two assists) each played a crucial role in the team’s success. Junior forward Allie Warnemunde also added four goals and two assists to the team’s scoring output.
Sophomore defenders Stacy Robey (one goal and two assists), Samantha Tomlinson (one assist), Molly Dible, Jessica Pagano, and Stephanie Riley all contributed to Lady Cougars’ back line that posted six shutouts. Sophomore forward Heather Ross also tallied three goals and two assists up front.
Freshman forward Kelly Sgambellone put together a good first college season as she was second on the team with nine goals to go with two assists. Freshman forwards Bethany Watkins (two assists), Raquel Crocker, and Amber Pagano each added depth to the scoring attack.
Freshmen midfielders Page Miller (three assists) and Diana Flannery (two goals and one assist) both made significant contributions in their first college campaign. Freshman defender Mara Hughes was also a stalwart of the Lady Cougars’ defense.
"As I look back over the season, I really see great depth and potential for what we can be in the future,” said Meade. "It was a good season, but for the Lady Cougars being good is not enough. I believe this season will be a springboard to propel us back to where our expectations are set and that is competing for a national championship.”
"We are losing a quality group of seniors and I wish them God’s best as they head out into the real world after this year,” Meade added. "With their departure, I also look forward to seeing returning players step up to lead this team and setting new standards in work ethic, commitment, and unity.”