Article by Jeremy Nelson
Kissimmee, FL – The CCC women's soccer team's Cinderella season finally came to an end on Thursday with a 2-1 victory in their final pool play game at the NCCAA National Championships over the Trinity Lutheran College Eagles.
With the Mississippi College Choctaws finishing tied 1-1 with Trinity Christian College, the Tigers finished in 2nd place in the pool, and were eliminated from advancing to the finals on Saturday. The Choctaws finished 2-0-1 with 7 points and the Tigers were 2-1 with 6 points. The win gives the Tigers a 20 win season for the first time since becoming a 4 year institution, and their 6 losses ties them for the fewest losses in a season, in program history.
Things didn't start out well for the Tigers on Thursday. They seemed to start out a little sluggish and they allowed the TLC Eagles to score the game's first goal in the 8th minute of the game. The Tigers couldn't seem wake up and the score remained 0-1 going into the halftime intermission. Coach Fogarty woke the team up at half time and they responded with much better play in the final 45 minutes.
Senior forward, Krystina Stackhouse gave the Tigers the equalizer 15 minutes after the break. She took a pass from freshman Mia Ota on the right side. She cut the ball inside at the corner of the 18 yard box and bent a left-footed shot into the upper left corner. Coach Fogarty called it "legit". Ten minutes later Stackhouse did it again, putting the Tigers up 2-1 off of assists by Haley McMath and Amber Murray. McMath found Murray with a pass in the midfield. Murray then played the ball through to Stackhouse into the box. Stackhouse beat the keeper to the ball and then chipped her as she went down to stop the shot.
Thanks to a sloppy first half by the Tigers, the Eagles finished the game with 18 total shots and 11 shots on goal, forcing CCC goal keeper, Shayna Watkins, into 10 saves. When the Tigers got things going in the second half, they finished with 9 shots, 4 on frame.
"More than any other team, we like to make things interesting," said Fogarty. "We had a very poor first half with our touch and decision making and allowed them to take the game to us. We had a renewed focus after the break, led by the example of our two seniors Krystina Stackhouse and Haley McMath and pulled out what feels like our 50th come from behind victory."
Fogarty summed up his team's Cinderella season saying, "We've had a lot of learning experiences this year but I love that this team never gave up at any point. Winston Churchill said, 'Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm'. No matter what challenges this team faced, we continued to persevere and now we have a 20-win season. I'm very proud of this team and the leadership KP and Haze showed all year. After failing to qualify for even regionals for years, Central Christian Women's Soccer has bounced back in a big way, finishing in top four at the National Tournament."