On a field bordered by snow, Bowling Green women’s soccer cooled off after a strong start and saw their season come to an end at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, falling 2-1.
Just before the end of the first half, Chelsee Washington scored her eighth goal of the season to put the Falcons ahead 1-0. In give-and-go like fashion, Washington and Mackenzie Reuber locked in a crossing pattern and Washington was able to settle the ball for a clear shot.
The bright spot from tonight's women's soccer game: the Chelsee Washington goal. Probably the biggest goal in program history. "I love this team and I wish I had another week with them" - WashingtonJust a heartbreaking end to a historic season for @bgsuwsoc pic.twitter.com/9V1sXk1fM4— Chase Bachman (@ChaseBachman) November 16, 2019
Continuous pressure from Michigan in the second half resulted in some quality chances, shortly after Danielle Wolfe tied the game. Wolfe, along with Sarah Stratigakis and Niki Hernandez, built on one touch pass after the other eventually leading to a break in defensive wall for Bowling Green. Stratigakis initiated the original shot, but Wolfe was there to make sure it crossed the goal line.
A Falcon turnover at the 79th minute of the match would prove to be deadly. Kathleen Duwve set up an exit from her own side of the pitch that was thwarted by Hernandez. She instantaneously lobbed the ball up and over Duwve who was looking to return to her position after the original strike. The 2-1 lead was enough for the Wolverines and they move on to face Texas Tech in the next round of the tournament.
“To be honest, right now this moment is nothing but devastating. I think we had done enough to win the game… it’s difficult to finish a match like this at any stage,” head coach Matt Fannon said following the game.
Fannon’s squad drops another NCAA tournament game, but there was an improvement compared to last year’s loss to Penn State, dropping that match 4-1. It was the first time the team had scored a goal in the NCAA tournament and the Falcons were happy to be involved in the match. This year felt like there was a chance the team could move on.
“We were on top for massive portions and we didn’t finish the job, but that’s the game,” he said. “I can’t really find any faults. We made some mistakes, sure, but that’s going to happen every match.”
Washington, who scored the second NCAA tournament goal in program history, is one of seven seniors that will be moving on from the program. Each player has been a part of two historic back-to-back seasons for women’s soccer.
“I don’t think I’ve had time to really process it,” Washington said. “I think it will all hit me once I step off the field and take my jersey off for the last time.”
Between Washington, Hannah Dolfuss, Maureen Kennedy, Rachel Muller and Kristin Tveit, 39 goals have been scored and 56 assists have been tallied. Goaltenders Duwve and Monica Florez have accounted 4871 minutes and 28 seconds in the crease.
“It’s mixed emotions. It’s always hard to walk off the field with a loss and see the positives in it. I think once this settles down and I’m able to reflect back on how hard this team worked the season we had will seem incredible,” Washington said.