Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kendyl Landeck, Selected as Member of St. Lucia Court!

Gustavus Women's Soccer is extremely proud to announce that our own Kendyl Landeck has been selected as a member of the St. Lucia Court for this year's annual Festival of St. Lucia.  This is a tremendous honor to be selected to the St. Lucia court and we couldn't be happier for Kendyl!

Kendyl is a native of Moscow, Idaho. As a sophomore, Kendyl is studying Sociology and Anthropology, in addition to numerous extracurricular activities here on campus including the Gustavus Choir while being a member of the soccer team. Kendyl is an integral member of our team who has unfortunately suffered tragic injuries that would keep most from ever trying to compete again, but through Kendyl's hard work, optimism, and refusal to let her injuries get the best of her, she is flying through rehabilitation with a burning fire get back out onto the soccer field as soon as she can.  Kendyl is the positive force that keeps this team moving forward, never letting anything get in her or the team's way of making improvements and staying on the track to achieve our goals every day.  Regardless of what's going on around her, Kendyl is always the first person up to cheer her teammates on, to the point of regularly losing her voice.  She's never afraid to speak up for what she thinks is right and is the epitome of everything a coach, teammate and professors looks for in a player and student here at Gustavus.

The Festival of St. Lucia is a very strong tradition here at Gustavus, as we like to celebrate our Swedish heritage while at the same time recognizing those on campus who regularly exhibit glowing kindness, dedication, hard work, compassion, and exemplary academic achievements.  The Festival of St. Lucia begins the Christmas Season in Swedish custom and is traditionally held on December 13th (this year's festival at Gustavus will be held on December 11th).  On this day in Sweden, the eldest daughter of the family plays the role of St. Lucia by preparing and serving various baked goods and coffee to her family at sunrise. Wearing a crown of lighted candles, Lucia represents the return of light that will end the long winter nights and serves as a symbol of hope and peace for the Christmas season.  At Gustavus, the St. Lucia Court traditionally sings carols in the residence halls during the early morning hours on the day of the crowning. Lucia is chosen through a campus community vote, which will take place online December 2-5.

Other members of this year's court are Sarah Barnes from Prior Lake, MN, Rachel Hain from Roseville, MN, Janet Jennings from Inglewood, CA, Sharon Singh from Rochester, MN, and Laura Swenson from Eagan, MN. The St. Lucia court is chosen based on courageous leadership, strength of character, service to others, and compassion.  This is a very big honor for Kendyl and we're incredibly proud to have such an outstanding girl in our program.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saying Goodbye: Our Fantastic Senior Class

This week we begin to say goodbye to our wonderful class of seniors: Karlye Smith, Caroline Olsen, Heather Goff, and Valerie Belanger, as well as our senior lead trainer, Angela Gewerth.  This was a group of seniors that brought a spark of life and competitiveness to the squad for all four years of their time in the program. It's difficult to think about the program without these girls driving everybody forward with their veteran skill and their strong leadership and knowledge of the game.  Before they cross the white line between player and fan, we would like to take a moment to commemorate their accomplishments and contributions to the team during their time with the Gustavus Women's Soccer Program.

Caroline Olson #1: GK of York, Pennsylvania.  Caroline has been such a positive force on the team during her time here, constantly pushing herself to be the best she can be.  She does whatever there is to be pushing herself to improve, as well as to push those around her to perform to their best ability as well.  Caroline can always be seen with a smile on her face, as she has such a shining passion for the sport. Absolutely nothing can keep her down.  First player to the fields and the last one to leave, she always finds ways to give more and more to the team.  She is truly a fantastic player to have on our squad, and will be greatly missed from the team moving forward.  Caroline is an athletic training major who has played in 28 games throughout her career and totaled 139 saves.

Valerie Belanger #10: Midfielder of Zimmerman, Minnesota.  Val is single handedly the most positive force on this team.  She repeatedly is able to come to practice and display a genuine enjoyment of not only the game of soccer, but of those around her on the team, as well.  Through the ups and downs over the years, Val has been such a constant through her work ethic and her positive personality; Val is the epitome of the player any team would want on their roster.  Regardless of the situation, she brings a force about her that causes everything around her to simply "flow". Val will be hugely missed, although we feel she's left a presence that will still be on the field for years to come. Valerie is a psychological science and nursing double major who has played in 32 career games.

Heather Goff #12: Midfielder of Eagan, Minnesota.  Heather has been been many things over her four years with the Gustavus Soccer Team, all of which are the ideal attributes in any great soccer player: competitive, consistent, reliable, and eager to continue moving the team forward.  As one of our more skilled players over the past four years, Heather continues to strive to improve and learn more about the game, helping to create a standard and a culture of development and progression in a program.  Heather has been instrumental in the team's success over her time here, and always with a right smile on her face.  Heather is a biology major and four-year starter who has started 52 career games and totaled five assists.

Karlye Smith #14: Defender of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  It is tough to think of a few words to describe Karlye, because when thinking about what defines a great center back, she embodies them all.  She is a brute force in the back line that nobody would want to find themselves in a tackle against, as Karlye is easily the toughest and most determined player on the field at any minute.  A physical and fierce competitor, yet positive and supportive teammate, it is made obvious quickly that anybody would much rather be playing by her side than coming up against her. Her leadership has been vital in our team's development, as she is not only open to always continue learning herself, but also helping those around her to quickly step into important defensive roles on our team through her example as well as helping to teach these positions to anyone who has had to step up into defensive roles around her.  It's scary to think of a back line without Karlye in it, almost as scary as thinking about playing against a back line of all defenders like Karlye!  It was a true pleasure to be able to have had her in the Gustavus program over the past four years. She really will be missed. Karlye is an athletic training major and four-year starter who has started 59 career games.

Angela Gewerth: Senior Athletic Trainer.  Angela as acted almost as a momma hen for the team, always keeping a close eye on everybody doing whatever she can to make sure everybody stays healthy and is recovering from any injuries as quickly as possible.  Angela was a perfect fit for our team, as she immediately was able to jump right in and become best friends with about everybody on the field, which is exactly what a team looks for in their athletic trainer. We always knew that at any time if something was going on with a player, Angela would be quick on her toes to sniff out any injury and begin working with our head trainer on plans to get them back to 100%.  Her close bonds with the girls on the team meant there was a fantastic flow of communication between our players and the trainers as they all felt close to her and trusted that her number one priority was their speedy and healthy return back to them playing at their full potential, as she honestly had as much as an emotional connection to the team and it's success as anybody.  Trainers as special as Angela don't come along very often, and we're incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her this year, and are excited to follow her success in the future.

A very special group of Seniors. We're going to miss them very much.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Senior Day Victory! Hamline University: 1-0

It was a great day out at the Gustie Soccer field as the girls ended their 2014 season on a high note after a thrilling 1-0 victory over Hamline University.  This win marked the girls’ first conference win of the season, a great way to tribute our senior class and the hard work that the girls have been putting in all season. 

Despite the score line, it was a battle of the two very attacking offenses, with two very dangerous opportunities by each team within the first minutes of the game, with goalkeeper Roisen Granlund coming up with a big breakaway save early on, followed by a cracking volley by Brittany Chase at the opposite end going just inches wide of the post.

The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute when Maddison Ackiss stole the ball off of a Hamline defender and managed a seemingly impossible strike from well outside of the 18 yard box on the left side that sent the ball soaring into the far corner of the net, just barely out of reach of the Hamline goalkeeper.  The goal was truly a beauty to watch, that only a natural goal scorer would have the prowess to put away.

The game was a true battle, with stretches of play being played at each end of the field and the girls doing a fantastic job to hold strong in the back and deny the Pipers any free opportunities on goal.  The entire back line played fantastic, posting their first shutout of the conference.  They worked hard for all 90 minutes, keeping the ball from finding a rhythm in our half by constantly working to push high and preventing Hamline from building up around our defensive third.

We couldn’t think of a better way for our senior class to go out.  It’s incredibly rare for a class to be able to end their collegiate career on a win, and we couldn’t be happier for our girls. It took true heart and determination to come out and get the win and it was well deserved.

Sweet Goodbye, Women’s Soccer Earns First MIAC Victory On Senior Day
Posted on November 1st, 2014 by Nick Hoelmer

The Gustavus Adolphus women's soccer team closed out its season on a high note, defeating Hamline 1-0 on Senior Day.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s soccer team saved its best for last, winning its final game of the season and sending its seniors out on a high note. The Gusties defeated Hamline University 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field to pick up their first conference victory and stamp in a final record of 1-8-2 in the MIAC and 2-13-3 overall.

“This season, we’ve proven that we’re in the competitive stage in close games, we’ve just been on the wrong end in the win-loss column,” said head coach Laura Burnett-Kurie. “That being said, this win shows that we’re not just in the competitive stage, but that we can win those close, tight games. I think today gives us a huge boost of confidence, especially our younger team members who will be returning next year. It was really rewarding for all of the girls because they’ve stayed so positive all year, even when things haven’t been going well, so it was nice to see that our hard work has paid off. I’m especially happy for our four seniors that get to leave the program with a win under their belt!”

As has been the case for much of the season, Gustavus sophomore Maddison Ackiss (Fairbanks, Alaska) provided the scoring punch for the Gusties. At 20:34, Ackiss gathered the ball on the far left of the Hamline penalty area, dribbled around two defenders and blasted a shot over Piper goalkeeper Erin Urbanowicz’s head to give Gustavus a 1-0 lead that would hold for the remainder of the game. The goal was Ackiss’s 10th of the season, good for fourth in the MIAC in that category.

“Maddison is a goal-scorer,” said Burnett-Kurie. “She can create something out of nothing and can really turn things around just by getting the ball and cracking one of her shots. That’s helped us a lot this year and having a player like Maddison has been key for our team.”

The Gustavus defense was strong on the day, allowing only seven shots for the Pipers and only one in the second half. Gustavus goalkeeper Roisen Granlund (So., St. Paul, Minn.) picked up her first victory of the season, as well as her first collegiate shutout to bring her 2014 record to 1-5-0 after collecting two saves and completing the shutout.

Senior Day
As is tradition at Gustavus, the final home game of the regular season was designated as Senior Day and a special tribute was made to the individuals who dedicated themselves to the Gustavus women’s soccer program over their college career. This year, four seniors were recognized for their dedication and commitment to Gustie women’s soccer. Those seniors were: Valerie Belanger (Zimmerman, Minn.), Caroline Olson (York, Penn.), Heather Goff (Eagan, Minn.) and Karlye Smith (Eau Claire, Wis.). The team also recognized senior athletic trainer Angela Gewerth, who has been the lead student trainer for the team this season.

“I’ve been really fortunate since I started here that the senior classes have brought so much to the program,” said Burnett-Kurie. “This senior class was special in the way they didn’t become complacent when the going got tough. They were ok with our record because they knew we were improving and they understood that our season was about so much more than wins and losses. They didn’t let their frustrations get the best of them, they came out everyday and put their best foot forward and really continued to bring the team together. Having that type of leadership, that vocal leadership that kept the positive energy up throughout the season really meant a lot. It’s going to be sad to see them go and it’s going to be very tough to replace them, but I truly believe they’ve done enough for our younger players to pave the way and keep things heading in the right direction.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

Unfortunate Turn of Events at Bethel: 2-1

Coming into our final away game of the season, the girls face a determined Bethel side this Wednesday in a game that determined their playoff chances going into the post-season next week.  Our girls did fantastic however, to step out onto the field and really show their true colors as they managed to match Bethel’s work rate and then some, which is an unbelievably difficult feat knowing that there is limited relief for them during the match due to an injury-riddled bench behind them.

The girls were really pressing high throughout the game, in every area of the field forcing Bethel to get away from their possession style and to play more direct, which our back line has been very disciplined and talented with being able to deal with, as they only 3 shots on target coming in the first half and only 3 in the second.  Our defenders held strong and really began to work out of the back, allowing our forward movement to really begin testing the Bethel defenders, especially in the second half resulting in a top-class goal by Maddison Ackiss (her ninth of the year) to put the Gusties up 1-0 in the 46th minute of the match.  The goal came off of a pinpoint pass from Sophie Leininger in the midfield to a lightning fast Maddi, who rifled the shot past a very talented Bethel goalkeeper right into the far side-netting.

It was fabulous to finally break the scoreless conference streak, finding the back of the net and continuing to push forward into the attack, until roughly 15 minutes later in the match when Bethel came out on a breakaway and managed to slide a ball past keeper Roisen Granlund to equalize.

The girls kept pushing though, continuing to get the ball high up the field and whip in dangerous balls across the net, especially with freshman striker Laura Johnson’s movement across the Bethel back line causing absolute mayhem, which allowed Brittany and Maddi to continue creating goal scoring opportunities into the second half.

The match was clipped to an end though, after extending to overtime yet again where a Bethel striker played in a low driven shot, which took a questionable hop at the penalty spot causing a redirection and the ball to pop off of the ground and over the goalkeeper as it trickled into the net.  It was a tough game to lose, due to the unexpected finish, but that’s soccer, sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way.

Women’s Soccer Drops Another Heartbreaker, Falls To Bethel 2-1 In OT
Posted on October 29th, 2014 by Nick Hoelmer

Maddison Ackiss scored her ninth goal of the season in a 2-1 overtime loss to Bethel on Wednesday afternoon.

Arden Hills, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s soccer team was defeated by Bethel University 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday afternoon at the Ona Orth Soccer Complex. The loss marks the sixth game in the last eight the Gusties have played where they were defeated by a single goal. With the loss, Gustavus falls to 0-8-2 in the MIAC and 1-13-3 overall, while Bethel moves to 5-5-0 in the MIAC and 6-8-3 overall.

“Another hard fought game by the girls, but once again, the ball just didn’t bounce our way,” said head coach Laura Burnett-Kurie. “We were pleased with our tempo and how we controlled the ball and felt good about how we kept their defense on guard for a majority of the game.”

Gustavus looked to be in prime position to secure its first conference win of the season when Maddison Ackiss (So., Fairbanks, Alaska) got the Gusties on the board at the 46:21 mark off an assist from Sophie Leininger (Fy., Plymouth, Minn.). The goal was Ackiss’s ninth of the season and the assist was Leininger’s second of the year.

“Maddison’s goal came off of a cheeky ball threaded through the backline by Sophie Leininger,” said Burnett-Kurie. “Both Maddison and Sophie have made great strides this season and it was fun to see the chemistry they’ve developed create a beautiful play like that.”

Gustavus kept it’s lead for a little more than 15 minutes before Bethel’s Savannah Swanson got the Royals on the board at 63:38 on a pass from teammate Samantha Provost to knot things up at 1-1. The two teams stayed scoreless for the remainder of regulation, but approximately one and a half minutes into the extra period, Bethel’s Jessica Huseby secured the sudden death victory for the Royals off a pass from Erin Ness.

Gustavus again struggled to keep up with its opponent on the shot chart, with Bethel taking 16 shots and Gustavus taking eight. Roisen Granlund (So., St. Paul, Minn.) suffered the complete-game loss between the posts after allowing two goals and making six saves to bring her record to 0-5-0 on the year.

“With only one game remaining in the year, we are looking to keep up the tempo we showed tonight and finish our season strong with a victory,” said Burnett-Kurie.

Gustavus will wrap up its 2014 season on Saturday when it hosts Hamline University at the Gustie Soccer Field in a 1 p.m. game. As is tradition at Gustavus,  with it being the final home game of the regular season the team has designated the game as Senior Day and a special tribute will be made to the individuals who have dedicated themselves to the Gustavus women’s soccer program for the past four years.