Season recap: Women’s soccer builds on strong performance heading into the offseason

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Wheeling, W. Va. – The 2021 season was a year of change for the women’s football team as it ushered in a new era under the leadership of the head coach Theo Egbele. They finished the year with a 5-11-2 overall and 4-10-2 record in the Mountain East Conference (MEC) game, while finishing fifth in the MEC North Division. Although he missed the playoffs, Wheeling has had a strong single-season performance that they hope to develop before next season.

Wheeling opened the season with a pair of tough non-conference opponents and divided the competitions, beating Lake Erie 3-0 and falling to Ursuline College 3-1. They then opened the conference game against Frostburg State at home and fought hard before falling 3-2. They abandoned their next conference game before claiming their first win in program history against Notre Dame College 3-2 on September 22.sd. This would lead to another exciting win for the program next time around, when Braedynn Porter scored the winning goal in overtime against Alderson Broaddus for a 3-2 victory.

The Cardinals came out of that streak sitting 2-2 in the MEC game, with a chance to move up the standings. As they gained in the field, they also gained recognition around the conference, like Kenadee Burgoyne, Mikayla yarwood, and Braedynn Porter each won the MEC Player of the Week award during that span. They would start the 2-3-1 conference game and head to their rivalry match against West Liberty with a chance to make the top three in the MEC North table. However, they would drop their next seven games in a row and fall to 2-10-1.

Then they staged one of their best games of the season against Davis & Elkins, Porter and Burgoyne combining for three goals in a 3-0 win over Davis & Elkins. They would be tied with West Virginia Wesleyan 0-0 and prepared to host West Liberty at the senior night at Bishop Schmitt Field. The team honored their five seniors before the game and got two goals from Burgoyne in the final four minutes of the game. Those two goals took them to a 2-0 victory over the Hilltoppers and gave the team some momentum as they headed into the offseason.

The Head Coach Theo Egbele was pleased with how his team has grown at the end of the season and is excited about what the future holds for the program.

“We have improved with our performance in the last three games with more consistent results,” said Egbele. “Many had a low bar for us and didn’t expect us to win a lot of games, but we did more than expected with this group. We will improve individually this winter and this spring, and that should be reflected. on the team. “

This honored senior class has shown leadership throughout the year, and many of them will be back for their “COVID year” next season as they try to develop their performance. Burgoyne has been the team’s best offensive player this season, scoring a career-high 10 goals. She led the team in shots (55) and points (21), while being second in shots on goal (32). She was recognized for her efforts by being named a member of the All-MEC Second Team for the first time in her career. After her, Porter finished two goals behind her with eight goals while leading the team with 32 shots on goal. The duo were responsible for all but four of Wheeling’s goals this season and were instrumental in their success.

On the defensive side of the ball Mikayla yarwood has had a remarkable season as the team’s starting goaltender. She led all of Division II women’s soccer in saves (132) and faced a Division II record of 166 shots this season. She finished the year with a save percentage of 0.795 and has a chance to break the career Wheeling record of 215 set by Tina Dengler from 2001 to 2004. Freshman Marie DiFonzo is another Cardinal who flew under the radar and secured a spot on the All-MEC Freshman squad. DiFonzo finished the year with one goal, two assists and four points while making 20 shots and placing 11 shots on goal.

Wheeling is now heading into the offseason, looking to continue building on this year’s successes and bounce back stronger in 2022.


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