On Saturday, Nov. 9, history was made for UC women’s soccer. The Pioneers won its first-ever Empire 8 Conference Championship against Hartwick College.
This was not the first time they made it to the conference final. Last year, the team faced Stevens University in the championship game but came up short.
Junior midfielder Kierra Caissey said she feels fortunate to have been a part of the process of helping the program get to the championship game in her three years at UC.
“Since last November when we made our first championship appearance since 2005, it was a year’s worth of sacrifice and commitment for the entire team as we worked towards the common goal of not only making the tournament once again, but to win the whole thing for the first time in program history,” Caissey said.
For senior Allie Wagner, this conference championship win has been something she has been striving for since her freshman year. It has always been a team goal for women’s soccer since the first day Wagner walked onto the field, the goalkeeper said.
“Over the years we grew as a team in areas of discipline, work ethic and mental toughness,” Wagner said.
During every practice, the women’s soccer team replicates an Empire 8 environment so they can perform at a high level every game. The team really focuses on pushing each other to be the best players they can be, according to Wagner.
“The victory is also history in itself,” she said. “Our 2019 team are the only UCWS players to ever win a championship. It makes me feel so proud.”
Wagner has been a brick wall all season long. That position can be stressful at times, but Wagner kept her cool throughout the game even in the most stressful moments.
“In the last minute of the game, we had a 1-0 lead and Hartwick generated a corner kick,” she said. “Their team is good in the air so it was a serious chance for them to tie the game.”
The Pioneers were able to defend their lead and make it out with the win.
“The victory means the world to me,” Caissey said. “It is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements a team can earn.”
This win meant that for the first time ever the women’s soccer team would get a bid to the NCAA tournament. This game was played on Nov. 16th at 11 a.m. against William Smith College.
William Smith finished its season ranked second in the nation. The team knew that going into the game it would be a battle.
“We have embraced the opportunity we have as a team to go into the first round against William Smith with energy, love for the game and the drive to leave everything we have out there on the field, regardless of the result,” Caissey said.
Unfortunately, the result was not in favor of the Pioneers. Wagner faced 25 shots and had 22 saves in the game.
“The team was honored to be the first UCWS players to make a national appearance,” Wagner said. “The team fought hard and regardless of the outcome, we are all very proud to wear our jersey and represent our school. It was a season to remember.”