It was cold, wet and muddy when the Clark women’s soccer team took the field Nov. 5 against the North Idaho Cardinals in Clark’s first playoff game of the season. Clark’s forward Ellie Quercia would score her tenth goal this season in the 14th minute off a penalty kick, putting Clark up by one goal early in the game.
The Cardinals would tie the game at the 31st minute off a corner kick. The game continued in a fierce tie through a steady downpour of rain. Clark finished the regular season with a 11-0-1 record, claiming a division title for the first time in team history. However Clark’s season ended in the 91st minute when the Cardinals scored a heartbreaking goal, resulting in a 2-1 loss for Clark.
The Clark women’s team reversed roles this season with old rivals, the Lane Titans. Clark delivered the Titan’s their only loss of the season, dropping Lane to second in the southern division’s standings.“[I am] just so proud; so proud and also relieved,” said Clark’s head coach Sean Janson about winning the division title. “Last year we went into the final game against Lane knowing we had to win in order to win that title and we just came up just short with a tie.”
Janson said the women have been craving redemption against Lane since their last encounter. “The sophomores have been thinking about that for 11 months andtwo weeks, so we are very, very happy for correcting that mistake and just really, really proud for what it means to the community,” Janson said. “A person once told me good players make great coaches.”
Clark capitalized on performances this year by their two forward position players: Molly Joyce and Ellie Quercia. Joyce scored 25 goals and 5 assists over the season earning her second place in scoring across the league. “I don’t look at it as a personal achievement.It’s more us as a team,” Joyce said after finishing a practice last week.“I couldn’t do it without people like her on my team,” Joyce said, pointing at Quercia.
Quercia assisted Joyce and the rest of the team throughout the season by adding 13 assists along with 10 goals.“I kinda just think how I can help and support my team, [and] that’s kinda my role, I think,” Quercia said.
Quercia said that some of the team’s success can be attributed to additional coaching staff. “What I see different is Sean’s really brought in a couple of coaches that are really technical,” Quercia said about assistant coaches Jeff Castagnola and Peter Pickett. “[Peter and Jeff] are very smart and technical and Sean really brings heart to the team. I think that has a lot to do with it.”
Joyce expressed gratitude towards her teammates and the support they received from Clark’s soccer program.“I have really enjoyed my experience here a lot,” goalkeeper Sarah Kaufman said. “I love the coaching staff and all the girls on the team are super supportive and wonderful.”
With the season at a close, the future for this team will change dramatically. Several women from the 25 player squad, including Quercia and Joyce, will be leaving to pursue their educational careers elsewhere. “I want to thank the coaches; Sean has the heart of an angel,”Quercia said.