Must win for women's soccer

October 26, 2012

Seniors Sarah Watters (21) and Kayla Falkenbach (13) will be playing in their final regular season home game of the careers.

Seniors Sarah Watters (21) and Kayla Falkenbach (13) will be playing in their final regular season home game of the careers.

WILMINGTON – For all intents and purposes, the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament starts Saturday at Charlie Gilhart Field for the Wilmington College women’s soccer team. It’s win or go home time, and after four conference games, it’s a place that even the most ardent WC fan is glad to be in.

A three-game losing streak at the beginning of OAC play had Wilmington sitting at 1-3 with the two top teams still ahead. No worries for the Lady Quakers, a three-game winning streak with wins over Baldwin-Wallace, Marietta and Otterbein has WC on the verge of its seventh straight trip to the OAC tournament.

“I am pleased with where we are after starting the conference at 1-3,” said head coach Steve Spirk. “We could have continued our spiral, but we chose not to. As a team, I like the way we play at home. We have something to play for, and our seniors don’t want this to be their last game.”

Standing in Wilmington’s way this year is John Carroll, who comes into the game at 8-5-3 overall and 3-1-3 in the OAC. Sophomore Kaylin Akerly leads the Blue Streaks with nine goals and three assists for 21 points, placing her second in the OAC in goals and third in points. The forward isn’t shy on getting off plenty of shots, as her 62 attempts are second in the league.

John Carroll comes into Saturday’s game off two straight ties, 0-0 at Baldwin-Wallace and 1-1 at Ohio Northern. The Blue Streaks have already qualified for the postseason tournament, and playing to improve their seeding. With a win and losses by both Baldwin-Wallace and Capital, the Blue Streaks could vault all the way to the second seed in the tournament.

Wilmington has faced JCU twice in situations where a loss meant the end of the season. The Quakers knocked off John Carroll in penalty kicks in 2010, while the Blue Streaks earned a 2-1 edge in 2001.

“Wilmington and John Carroll have a long history against each other,” said Spirk. “We have play in some big games with good teams.”

The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start, and will represent the final home regular season for three seniors, Hannah Riffel, Sarah Watters and Kayla Falkenbach.