Hard work paid off for the women’s soccer team this season. After playing multiple matches against Marywood University in the past, they were able to pull through a win this time around in the championship.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, the women’s soccer team played for the title of the Atlantic East Conference championship against Marywood University.
However, this is not the first time both teams went head-to-head for the championship title along with several regular-season matches.
In 2008, the Marywood Pacers took the win over the Cavaliers with a final score of 3-2. During an away game in 2009, Marywood took home another win against Cabrini in a 4-2 game. Cabrini retaliated and went home with a winning score of 2-1 in 2010. Again, Marywood won with a final score of 3-1 in 2011.
In 2014, Cabrini had a two-game winning streak with the first game-ending in 3-0 score and a 2-1 final score during the second game. In 2017, Cabrini had another two-game winning streak with both games ending in a 2-1 score. Marywood came back in 2018 with a 2-1 final score. Finally, in 2019, Cabrini won the AEC championship ending the game with a 2-0 win against Marywood.
With a 15-3 record for Cabrini University, the Cavs were able to win with a final score of 2-0 against the 9-8 Marywood Pacers. During the first half of the game, the first goal was made by freshman Rebekah Cunningham, followed by another goal from senior Diana Vansickle, which brought home the win for Cabrini. However, had it not been for the goalie and her quick blocks, as well as the skills of the rest of the team, there might have been a different outcome.
Ashley Tutzauer, junior goalkeeper, emphasized the importance of winning the championships after suffering a loss of the same title last year during the semi-finals.
“As a junior goalkeeper, this is definitely memorable and relieving because I could make one mistake and cost us a game,” she said. “We called this our revenge tour and our passion to succeed this year was from within ourselves as a team to reach our goal. This year our team defense was phenomenal and we dominated most games allowing little to no shots.”
“The championship game was my best experience yet at Cabrini. Our team is like a family, which made the victory even sweeter and we may be a very talented team, but our love for Cabrini and each other made us champions,” Cunningham said. “As a freshman playing in the championship, I felt pressured but treated it like every other game.”
Winning the championship did not come easy to these women and their season consisted of early morning preseason training and extraneous workouts to stay fit and in shape for the games to be played.
During the off-seasons, the players tend to do their own training and workouts for the upcoming season, but during the season they practice for an hour-and-a-half every day along with training and lifting with the strength and conditioning coach throughout the week.
Marissa Portelli, senior back position, weighed in on her last moments with her team and what the championship meant for her.
“Winning as a senior was indescribable. We worked our butts off this year and it paid off. I am so proud of our team and the hard work and resilience this past year has taken. No one deserved this more,” Portelli said. “When that final whistle blew and you look around, knowing it will be one of your last games ever played in a Cabrini jersey, and you see 27 of your best friends running out on the field to celebrate, it doesn’t get better than that.”
Jessica Ruk, freshman forward position, was excited to win the AEC championships and is looking forward to the rest of the seasons she will be playing. As a lacrosse player, as well, she is hoping to win the conference championships for this season.
“The championships were one of the best feelings ever and our team worked so hard all season so winning made it all worth it,” Ruk said. “I think that we will only continue to get better and I am excited to see what we will do in our future seasons.”
This weekend, Nov. 16, the women’s soccer team will be playing for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament in Massachusetts to bring home another championship title.
Besides the players, this win was also a huge accomplishment for the coaches and all the work they put in with the team to reach their goal of winning the championship.
“All year we work hard to put our team in the best position possible to compete for the conference championship. Although we hit some highs and lows throughout the regular season, we were proud to see the girls playing their best soccer in the conference championship,” Brittany Runyen, assistant women’s soccer coach, said.
Runyen also believes that the chemistry between the players and the way they interact with each other on and off the field plays a huge role in their performance during their games.
“Chemistry is a big part of our program. From day one we are always working on how we can get the girls to really gel together,” she said. “The upperclassmen lead by example every day, and that set the stage for the rest of our team to follow along. We were able to create a system that hit on all of our strong points as a unit.”