As most of the student body knows, the Stephens soccer team has struggled to pick up where others left off over 20 years ago. When the game was brought back in the fall of 2012, the season was filled with numerous trials and errors, including an accidental score on their own goal.
Last season can now simply be considered a warm up because the Stephens Stars have made school and NAIA history.
On Oct. 15, Stephens College played a match against Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. Despite the shivering wind and slight overcast, the Stars shined through.
Stephens came out on top with a historic 4-3 win after being tied 3-3 with only a few minutes left in the second half.
“We were tied at one point 3-3 and you could just feel the sense of urgency from the whole team,” junior Kenzie Andrade said. “We stayed composed and capitalized on the other team’s mistakes, giving us the winning goal.”
Andrade managed to successfully score the historic winning goal with a skilled bicycle kick.
“Girls were screaming and freaking out, but we knew we had to hold on to the lead if we were going to actually win,” goalkeeper and senior Briannica Ponder said.
“The real moment of happiness came when the end buzzer sounded.”
The sound of that buzzer confirmed that Stephens College had triumphed.
In addition to the memorable win came two other notable records. Ponder broke the NAIA record for “Most Saved Shots in a Single Game” and was taken aback when Faith Baptist’s coach told her the incredible news.
“It was a 25-year-old record of 30 shots saved in a single game, and I beat it with 36 saves,” Ponder said. “I’m just thankful to my team for being so supportive of it all in the aftermath, and for my coaches who have told me that if I keep pushing myself, I’ll surprise everyone.”
The second record was broken by sophomore Ilia Siegwald after she put a point on the scoreboard for Stephens 54 seconds into the match. This went down in the record books as the fastest goal scored by a Stephens soccer player.
Andrade is the team captain and takes her position both seriously and to heart. She and head coach Xander Kennedy both feel that the season was filled with improvement and that it is quite apparent.
“It wasn’t easy, but the Stars finally broke through,” Kennedy said.
“It’s such a great feeling to win with these girls who have all worked so hard with me at every practice and game,” Andrade said. “These girls have quickly become some of my best friends in such little time, and I’m so grateful that I get to make history with them at Stephens College.”
Stephens College will be a force to be reckoned with next season in NAIA athletics.
Story by junior Anne Robertson