St. Edward’s women’s soccer playoff bound, discuss hosting possibilities

As the women’s soccer team prepares for the playoffs, there are plenty of advantages and key players that give this team depth.

“When you get to this stage, all the teams are good,” Head Coach Nick Cowell said. “We’re a team where everybody is healthy… and we haven’t lost for a long time, since the beginning of the season, so the confidence level is very high.”

The No. 3 seeded Hilltoppers will hit the road to play No. 6 Midwestern State on Friday. Next, the team will play against No. 2 Texas A&M University-Commerce two days later on Nov. 13.

Meanwhile, Heartland Conference rival Dallas Baptist is the No. 5 seed and will travel to Colorado and play against two tough Colorado schools in higher altitude.

If both teams win the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, St. Edward’s and Dallas Baptist will meet again in the Sweet 16 round as they will be the last two Heartland Conference (HC) teams left standing.

St. Edward’s has outscored their opponents 51-8. Defensively, the Hilltoppers have recorded 11 shutouts in 18 games. Senior goalkeeper Lorrie Santoy was voted the HC Defensive Player of the Year, senior forward Jennifer Bondreau was picked as the HC Offensive Player of the Year and senior midfielder Julia Harrison was named the all-around HC Player of the Year.

“I think after this season, it’s a great reward for all of our hard work, so I’m pretty excited about it,” Harrison said, crediting the freshman class for stepping up and being a huge advantage.

In regards to winning Player of the Year, Harrison added that, “a lot of it has to do with our great coaching staff and the support we have behind each other and for each other. It’s all for the Hilltoppers.”

Under the direction of the HC Coach of the Year Cowell, the team has been consistently dominant for the past decade, advancing to the Sweet 16 round five times. If St. Edward’s advances to the Sweet 16 and is the highest seeded team left in the region, the Hilltoppers will likely host.

“There’s a lot of things that would have to happen for [the opportunity to host], but we’ve just got to hopefully get through Friday’s game and then have another shot at Commerce; that was our only loss of the season.”

“There’s no secret to winning,” Cowell adds about his nationally-ranked program. “Our girls are very open to coaching and to developing their chemistry. They’ve been pretty well-focused throughout the year… I think that consistency really helps the team as they go out onto the field.”