Sports

A Record-Breaking but Disappointing end to the Warriors Women’s Soccer Season

The best season since 2013 comes to an end

It was a frustrating end to the best season in nearly a decade for the Waldorf women’s soccer team. The Warriors finished on a high note, though, in yesterday’s finale against Mount Mercy, winning 4-1. Two-thirds of the season was played last fall, with the remainder of the schedule this month.

The Warriors finished the season 8-6, marking their first winning season since 2013. The eight wins are also two more than the previous two years combined for third-year head coach Lugo Arenas.

The program had come a long way since that first season for Arenas in 2018-2019 when the Warriors didn’t have enough players to complete the season after a couple of injuries. Though successful, it’s still frustrating for the Warriors, who will miss the postseason.

Instead of Waldorf, The Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) is advancing Bellevue (12-3), Viterbo (9-1), Georgia Gwinnett (6-5), and Thomas (Ga.) (6-5-1). Both Bellevue – 0-1 and 0-2 – and Viterbo – 2-3 and 0-1 – were able to get past the Warriors this season.

Nonetheless, a season to remember for the Warriors and Arenas, validation the program could soon be heading for uncharted waters. However, Arenas gives all the credit to his athletes and what they did during this challenging off-season.

As with anything, success breeds success, and Arenas says a season like this helps on the recruiting trail.

Among standouts Waldorf signed last spring and summer, most recently, the Warriors added Precious Brown and Kayli-Marie Makiya, both from the Hawaiian Islands. Waldorf has had a strong footprint in Hawaii under Arenas – something he has long credited to assistant coach Melanie (Mel) Chandler. Chandler is originally from Kapolei, Hawaii, and played for Waldorf in 49 games from 2013-2015.

Hawaii is also the home of current star Sydney Boyd who was selected three times this season as A.I.I. player of the week, twice in the fall and once this spring. The highly touted recruit for Waldorf, she missed part of her freshman season because of a knee injury but didn’t disappoint her return this season. Sunday, Boyd scored her 15th goal of the season, which tied Heather Collins (2006) for the most in program history for one season. Earlier this season, Boyd passed Brittney Thornton (2016) for most points in a season, which she also padded Sunday and set at 32. Thornton’s 2016 record was 26 points.

Sunday was also senior day for eight Warriors who have seen the best and worst of the program. Elizabeth Bond, Alysha Donovan, Emma Donnelly, Kaitlyn Rockwell, Abby Davis, Bailee Russell, Mercedes Salome Garcia, and Bri Scheidewind are all seniors. Russell and Donnelly were critical members of the Warriors defense that will need to be replaced next season at the middle-back position.

Along with Boyd, Waldorf will also be pleased to see senior-to-be Autumn Petersen and junior-to-be Jessica Gill-Garcia return from injuries. Petersen earned an A.I.I. Player of the Week honor this spring before her injury. Waldorf will also return goalie Sara Rodriquez who played in 944 minutes this season. Hayde Gallardo, who will be a sophomore next season, is also a player to watch.

The team now enters the off-season and will look forward to a run at the playoffs next season.

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background photo credit – Waldorf Athletics

Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for KIOW/KHAM. He can be reached by email at zarren@coloffmedia.com or by phone at 641-585-1073.

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