On Sunday, Nov. 11, the Orediggers defeated Fort Lewis to win the RMAC championship for the 5th year in a row. Assisted by Acacia Ortiz, Haley Cole scored the only goal late in the second half to give the team the win.
The Orediggers are advancing into playoffs. They play Texas A&M Commerce Nov. 12 at 7pm in Texas. If the team is victorious, they will play Dallas Baptist on Nov. 14 at 2pm.
Unfortunately, the Orediggers will be playing both games in Texas. You can follow the games online on the NCAA website.
Senior mid-fielder, Mel Westhoff, captures the team’s excitement about winning the RMAC championship for the 5th year in a row.
“It feels great! No other team gets to hoist the trophy up. I understand how unique it is. And getting to share it with the men on our home field just made it,” exclaims Westhoff.
The team’s attitude is hopeful going into the NCAA tournament.
“I know personally that’s how I am going to look at it–as unfinished business. We’re going to go back and kick some butt. I think our story still hasn’t gone as far as it can in the NCAA,” states Westhoff.
For the Orediggers, the season has been plagued with injuries. Five starters were injured over the course of the season.
“We talked about a squad mentality earlier in the season and now that has really been put to the test because of how many people we have out,” says Westhoff.
However, the team has been able to overcome the obstacle.
“I think shoes needed to be filled and people stepped up really well,” sophomore forward Haley Cole commented.
“It’s kinda cool that we can step up. The people that won’t normally play as much can. I mean, if they weren’t hurt, I probably wouldn’t get to play as much and it’s cool that I get a chance to play, step up and make a difference”.
The Orediggers ended the regular season with a record of 8-1-2 in conference and 14-4-2 overall at the end of the regular season.
The Orediggers beat UCCS 5-2 on Sunday, Oct. 25. Cole scored two goals.
“I think we did well passing the ball today and also did well playing over the ball and behind. It’s good that now we can figure out what’s best when we attack,” Cole remarked after the game.
One of the major concerns the team faces is the team’s energy levels going into the game.
“I think we’ve been a little inconsistent with our energy, but in the last few games we’ve been coming in stronger,” junior defender Holly Weyand stated after Friday’s (Oct. 23) win over Western State.
The team has not lost focus.
Sophomore defender, Emily Gardner explained, “We need to focus on what we need to get done still. We still have two games left this weekend. We need to focus on winning those, but spirits are definitely up.”
Coach Kevin Fickes agreed, “I think they’ll do a good job of taking it one game at a time.”
Above: Freshman Acacia Ortiz dribbles past a Fort Lewis defender last week in the RMAC tournament. The team is returning to the NCAA tournament where they lost last year in the Final Four.