Soccer falls short in PBC championship to PKs
The GC women’s soccer team ended their season on Nov. 5, falling just short of victory at the PBC championship after a thrilling battle against Columbus State University.
The Bobcats held the undefeated Cougars 0-0 in regulation play and two overtimes but lost in a penalty kick shootout 4-2. The players selected to take the PKs were seniors So a Lekas and Unnbjorg Omarsdottir and freshmen Brooke Adams and Madi Diaz Granados.
“It was an absolutely fantastic game with a well executed game plan,” said head coach Hope Clark. “It was the first game this season that Columbus State had not scored a goal, so it was a very exciting match.”
This season marked the second time in program history that GC made an appearance in the PBC championship. The first time was in 2013, where the team also received the runner-up trophy after falling to Clayton State University in a PK shootout.
Though the championship did not end in GC’s favor, the team exhibited great perseverance and a commitment to success throughout the entire season.
“Of the four years I’ve been here, this is the closest we’ve been as a team,” said senior Savanna DeValle.
“That really helped us going into the season because we started out 5-0. At a point, we did hit a bump in the road and weren’t playing with the same intensity that we started with, but it all ended up working out because we made it to the championship.”
The Bobcats achieved their highest ranking in school history at No. 13 in the country. The team also appeared in the regional rankings for the United Soccer Coaches eight out of the nine weeks and in the NCAA national polls.
“It was an outstanding season,” Clark said. “Last year, we broke a lot of records and created a new history for the program, and this year we did the same thing by breaking a lot of phenomenal records by different players on the pitch.”
GC and Columbus State have held a consistent rivalry with each other throughout the years.
“We beat them 1-2 last year, so they definitely came out for blood this season and ended up beating us 4-0,” DeValle said. “They always recruit really well, so when the seniors leave, the freshmen are just as good. They’re always tough to hang with, but so is GC.”
Sophomore Cassie Balzano said that she is proud of how well the team performed in the championship and throughout the season.
“We grew a lot this season and managed it very well,” Balzano said. “We won and tied some games this season that we lost last season, so that was really good. My personal favorite memory of the season was the PBC tournament seminals against Young Harris where I kicked a cross-shot to win the game with seconds left on the clock.”
Though the season is over, GC has already starting recruiting its next class and plans to grow in skill and be just as competitive next season.
“For us, it’s now just about mass recruiting,” Clark said. “We literally recruit every single day. We try to continue on and strengthen ourselves, and all I can say is we are so beyond proud of our program and all that these women have accomplished this year.”