Golden Bears shatter records in historic 2016 campaign
By Trevor Arnold
The 2016 season of the KU women’s soccer team has been historic for both team members and fans. The Golden Bears earned school records for both in-season and conference victories, along with first-time appearances in NCAA playoffs.
After a loss in their first game of the season against Millersville 1-0, the Golden Bears won their next three games, ending with a 3-0 shutout against Seton Hill on Sept. 10. Madison McLelland earned her second goal of the season early in the first half, holding on to the lead until Alaina Curry’s 20th career goal in the 84th minute.
The Golden Bears, after losing 1-3 against West Chester on Sept. 13, went on to an impressive winning streak, outperforming Holy Family on Sept. 26 with a score of 4-1.
Each of KU’s four goals came early in the first half, giving a comfortable lead in the second half of the match.
The month of October proved to be a successful one for KU. The Golden Bears ended the month with a seven-game win streak, losing only one game to East Stroudsburg on Oct. 5, with a low margin of 1-0.
KU ended their regular season on Oct. 29 on a high note, winning 12 of the last 13 games with a victory against Slippery Rock in a 4-0 shutout. The Golden Bears ended the season scoring nine goals in two-game stretch.
The last time KU reached a similar achievement was in 2010, scoring four goals in a two-game streak.
The Golden Bears reached the final round of the PSAC playoffs, leaving both Bloomsburg and Gannon scoreless before once again falling to East Stroudsburg in the championship, 2-1.
The NCAA Tournament led to another victory streak for the Golden Bears. With five seconds left in the first half, Cara Griffith made the only successful shot on goal, allowing KU to shutout Charleston, W.Va. with a score of 1-0.
After advancing to the third round of the NCAA finals, the team’s first Sweet 16 game, the Golden Bears bounced back from an in-season loss against West Chester on Nov. 18, with a score of 3-2. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit late in the first half, Emily Zwiercan scored KU’s first goal in the 43rd minute. Maddie Mohr would score six minutes into the second half, equaling the score before Kristina Miller’s first goal of the season early in the 58th minute.
Following an impressive Sweet 16 victory, the Golden Bears headed into the Elite 8 playoff round on Nov. 20 winning 11 of their previous 12 games. After a scoreless first half against Bridgeport, Conn., Zwiercan scored KU’s only goal of the game in the 55th minute.
After successfully defending their lead, KU earned their 13th shutout of the season with a score of 1-0, sending them to the NCAA national semifinals in Kansas City, Mo.
The Golden Bears ended an impressive playoff run on Dec. 1 against Western Washington in their Final Four debut.
A header by Western Washington’s Becca Cates allowed them to take the lead late in the 24th minute, widening early in the second half before a third goal early in the 87th minute of the match.
The Golden Bears, the fifth team in KU history to reach the Final Four playoffs, end their season with an impressive 20-5 overall record. Losing five seniors, the program looks forward to a memorable return in 2017.