Women’s soccer nationally ranked in top 10

The St. Edward’s University women’s soccer team has recently been ranked 10th in the national rankings. The Hilltoppers also remain ranked 1st in the South Central Region and 1st in the Heartland Conference. Last week, the women’s soccer team was ranked 13th, according to the NSCAA/Adidas Division II rankings. The Hilltoppers currently hold a 10-1-1 overall record with a 5-0 record in conference. They have moved up in the national rankings due to the win over #19 University of the Incarnate Word on Oct. 11 winning 2-1. “The win is a stepping stone on the team’s mission for a conference championship,” said Head Coach Nick Cowell. “It puts us in the driving seat for the conference, but also puts a big target on our jerseys because we are the team that everyone wants to beat.”Incarnate Word (10-2-2, 5-1 HC) was able to score the first goal in the first 13 minutes of the game, but the Hilltoppers were able to tie the game by halftime by scoring in the 24th minute by sophomore Kelly Servage from an assisted cross by junior Janae Averett. In the second half of the game, the Hilltoppers were able to secure the game with a goal by sophomore Brianna Hinnenkamp assisted by Servage and freshman Olivia Collado in the 54th minute of the game.  “The first 20 minutes was a little shaky, but we calmed everyone down and started to play our game the rest of the half,” said senior Alex Podowski. “During the second half we came out ready to work for each other, and it paid off.” The last time the Hilltoppers beat the Cardinals was almost two years ago in November 2007 winning 3-1.”We had a lot of emotion coming into this game after losing and tying (Incarnate Word) last year,” said Cowell. The cold weather and rain did not stop the Hilltoppers from dominating their rival. St. Edward’s outshot Incarnate Word 13-2, while also allowing no Cardinal corner-kicks. “We told the team to concentrate on defense, and the fact that we limited them to two shots on goal says a lot about the intensity of our defensive effort,” said Cowell. The Hilltopper defense hasn’t gone unnoticed as sophomore goalkeeper Claire Tilton was named Heartland Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season on Oct. 7 and previously on Sept. 16. Podowski and senior Kim Abbot and have also been named Heartland Conference Defensive Players of the Week previously in the season.   The Hilltoppers accumulated another win this weekend winning 9-0 on Oct. 9 to Texas A&M International University. This was the women’s soccer team’s eighth shutout of the season.The Hilltoppers gained the lead early from a goal by Averett in the 6th minute of the game. They were able to get two more goals before halftime by junior Emily Arnold and sophomore Jordan Ynostrosa.  After halftime, Hinnenkamp scored against the Dustdevils followed by a penalty-kick shot from Abbott resulting in another goal for the Hilltoppers. In the 61st minute, a Dustdevil trying to clear a free kick scored on her own goal. Immediately following was a second goal by Hinnenkamp. Finally, sophomore Caitlin Reedy was able to finish with the ninth goal of the game in the 85th minute. “Our team camaraderie is something that sets us apart from our competition, and hopefully we continue to improve and grow as a team,” said Podowski. The Hilltoppers were able to outshoot the Dustdevils 32-2, giving Incarnate Word its two only opportunities in the last 10 minutes of the game.  “We have pushed ourselves since the summer to get to this point in the season,” said freshman Sara Singleton. “We have a huge opportunity with the team that we have this year. Staying focused and continuing to work hard will put us in a great place to compete nationally after conference.”The St. Edward’s women’s soccer team is set to play its next four matches at home. The women’s next game will be on Oct. 15 against Dallas Baptist University at 4 p.m. and they will play again on Oct. 17 against the University of Texas Permian Basin at 1pm.

“Our expectations are that we will continue to come to practice with an attitude to work hard and grow better every day,” said Cowell. “If we do that, and continue to get better, we can win some games and hopefully qualify for the NCAA Tournament.”