Siloam Springs, Ark. (November 14, 2005) - The John Brown Golden Eagles women’s soccer team is making final preparations this week for the NAIA National Tournament in Olathe, Kan. The Golden Eagles left Monday evening on their first-ever trip to the tournament. Their first-round game is Wednesday at 2:15 against Bethel (Tenn.).
The Golden Eagles (13-5-2) head into the 20-team tournament seeded 18th and are led by the Sooner Athletic Conference MVP, junior forward Nikki Ganter. Ganter has contributed 13 goals and 12 assists this season. Four other Golden Eagles qualified for the All-SAC team. Defender Alison Boster and midfielder Amber Aparicio made the first team, while goalkeeper Natalie Wall and midfielder Asja DeJong were named to the second team. Ganter was also a second team selection before being named MVP. John Brown head coach Joe Thoma, in addition to having been named the SAC Coach of the Year, picked up his 100th career victory last week in the Region VI championship game. He is making his second trip to the tournament. His first was as the head coach at Indiana Wesleyan in 2001. Indiana Wesleyan is also in the tournament this year, seeded 14th.
Advancing past the first round will be a difficult task for the Golden Eagles. The Bethel Wildcats are also 13-5-2 and are seeded 15th. They have earned 11 shutout wins to this point, but finished the regular season unranked. The Wildcats are led by Canadian sophomores Leah O’Grady and Candace Cunningham, who have combined for 38 goals and 15 assists thus far.
Game statistics will be webcast live starting at 2:15 Wednesday on http://naia.collegesports.com/sports/w-soccer/spec-rel/091605aaj.html
The winner of Wednesday’s game will face 2nd-seeded Graceland (Iowa) Thursday at 2:15.