Women’s soccer strives for ODAC success

Women’s soccer is searching for redemption in their spring 2021 season after falling to Randolph-Macon in the ODAC finale back in November of 2019. The Marlins had an impressive 2019 season. They finished with an incredible 13-3-4 record and 7-2-1 in conference play. Five out of their top six scorers from last season are returning. 

Scoring leaders Mia Meinhardt (also All-ODAC First Team) and Reina Araujo are coming off of impressive junior seasons. Junior, Kennedi Anders received All-ODAC Second Team in her sophomore year.  

Sophomore Sam Crawford earned the ODAC Rookie of the Year Award in 2019. She spoke on what makes this group special: “The way we all work hard and support each other,” said Crawford. 

Every team is going to have to overcome many obstacles during a season plagued by  COVID-19. Crawford mentioned what winning it all would mean during the shortened season: 

“I feel that winning an ODAC championship would be great, but it would mean more this season because without playing for so long and having many restrictions throughout the year, coming back and winning it would feel amazing,” said Crawford. 

 Head Coach Jeffrey Bowers is entering his 21st season with the program. He mentions what he is most excited about with this group. “When you look at this group, we’ve got a great mix of seniors who have a ton of experience along with some really exciting freshmen,” said Bowers. 

There are going to be unique challenges that each team is going to have to overcome. COVID-19 can not only cause a team to miss a game, but could derail an entire season if not handled properly. “The biggest challenge, I think, is just remaining COVID free, and not having starts and stops. I think if we can get into a rhythm, we will be in really good shape. I think that’s every team’s challenge.” said Bowers. 

Bowers also talked about keeping motivation with this team during a challenging season. “I think we are fortunate that we have a lot of self-motivated individuals on our team that are driven,” said Bowers. 

There are no national championship tournaments for the women’s soccer division. However, there is an ODAC tournament that will be held this spring. The Marlins have been to the last two ODAC championship matchups, but have failed to win both.

After over a year since the last game, the Marlins are looking to win some redemption in their first matchup of the season. They open against rival Randolph Macon, who ended their 2019 season in penalty kicks in the ODAC Championship.

Nicholas Mundy