In the time since the Jennies seniors took the field at the start of the 2014 season, the Jennies have posted a record of 77-5-3.
So, when Jennies celebrated senior day at the conclusion of their 2-1 victory over Washburn Sunday at the South Recreation Complex, the atmosphere didn’t reflect the celebration of a single victory; it represented the appreciation of four years of victories.
As the seniors’ list of accolades was read at the ceremony, it was almost overwhelming to hear the feats that the group had accomplished in just four years.
As if their accomplishments weren’t sufficient evidence, Jennies Soccer Head Coach Lewis Theobald reinstated their impact.
“They’ve been the most successful class in the history of our program,” Coach Theobald said. “They’ve made an impact since the first day they stepped on campus.”
In honor of the greatest class in history of Jennies soccer, I’ve compiled a list of each senior’s most memorable performance. While not every memorable moment made the cut, I think the eight that I chose stand out the most.
Abby Rhodes: East Central University vs. UCM (Oct. 6, 2013)
While most of the seniors took the field for the first time in 2014, Rhodes redshirted her first season in 2013, making her a senior this season. Over the course of her time at UCM, Rhodes is known for both her offensive and defensive abilities due to the fact that she played both as a forward and defender in recent years.
My favorite moment from Rhodes didn’t happen at either of those positions, though. It occurred at a position that most Jennies fans forget Rhodes played: goalkeeper.
Rhodes found herself in the net on two occasions her first season with the Jennies. In her game against East Central University, the unsuspecting fan would have assumed that goalkeeper was Rhodes’ usual position. Rhodes allowed just one goal on nine shots on goal. She also accumulated eight saves, the most by any goalie in a single game that season.
Mikala Modiri: UCM vs. Minnesota State (Nov. 21, 2014)
The Jennies seemed to be on a roll at the conclusion of the 2014 season, claiming the MIAA Championship in a decisive 4-1 victory over Southwest Baptist. A 2-0 victory over Central Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA tournament allowed the Jennies to advance to the Sweet 16. Their Sweet 16 matchup against Minnesota State, however, didn’t go as smoothly as the previous two games.
At first, it looked like it might have been a cakewalk to the next round of the tournament. The Jennies scored twice in the first 20 minutes of the game and appeared comfortably in control. Minnesota State kept the game interesting with goals in the 50th and 70th minute and forced overtime. In the 91st minute Mikala Modiri received a cross and sent the ball flying into the right corner the goal to clinch the game in walk-off fashion for the Jennies. Modiri’s goal allowed the Jennies to advance to the Elite Eight.
Kayla Hamner: Minnesota-Dulth vs. UCM (Sept. 7, 2015)
Kayla Hamner has been a versatile part of the Jennies defense, serving as both a defender and a midfielder. She helped maintain one of the best defenses in Division II while at the same time accumulating four goals and four assists.
It’s not often that the opportunity comes along to set the pace for the entire season, but Hamner did in her top moment. In the Jennies season opener against Minnesota-Dulth, Hamner received a free kick from outside the box and scored the Jennies first goal of the 2015 season. The Jennies went on to defeat Minnesota-Dulth 6-0 and finished the season 21-2-1.
Megan Woolley: UCM vs. Northeastern (Nov. 8, 2015)
In November 2015, The Jennies entered the MIAA Championship with a record 19-2 and were on the verge of claiming their second straight title. They defeated Washburn 2-1 in the first round of the tournament and advanced to play Fort Hays State in the semifinals. The score of the semifinal matchup was tied 2-2 at the conclusion of regulation and in the 99th minute Megan Woolley scored a game winning goal to send the Jennies to the Championship.
This, however, is not Woolley’s top moment. Woolley’s top moment occurred two days later in the MIAA Championship against the Northeastern RiverHawks. Neither the Jennies nor the RiverHawks scored in regulation and the Jennies were forced to play an overtime period for the second time in the tournament. Almost as if it were planned, Woolley once again scored in the 99th minute to secure the Jennies second straight MIAA title.
Baylie Edwards: UCM vs. Minnesota State (Nov. 20. 2015)
Almost exactly a year after Modiri’s top moment, Baylie Edwards shined in similar fashion against the exact same team.
Megan Wooley’s previously mentioned game winning goal in the 2015 MIAA Championship advanced the Jennies to the NCAA tournament. The Jennies emerged victorious in their first competition in the tournament, defeating Minot State 2-0.
The victory over Minot State earned the Jennies a game against Minnesota State in the Central Region Championship. The Jennies outshot the Mavericks 14-7 with nine of their shots being on-goal shots. Although they had a more aggressive offense, the Jennies failed to score and the game was scoreless entering the final minutes. With less than three minutes to play, Edwards received a pass from Hannah Pyle and scored from 5 yards out. Edwards’ goal allowed the Jennies to capture the Central Region Championship and advanced the Jennies to the NCAA Quarterfinal match.
Taylor Thompson: UCM vs. Northwest (Sept. 25, 2016)
In September 2016, the Jennies were set to take on the Northwest Bearcats for the second time in just nine games. The Jennies narrowly defeated them 1-0 in their first meeting, but Taylor Thompson’s performance in their second matchup made for a wider point margin.
Thompson had her first of three assists 24 minutes into the game after her kick ricocheted off the crossbar and set up Baylie Edwards for the Jennies’ first goal. She notched her second assist with a cross to Alex Harms. Her third and final assist of the game occurred when Thompson crossed the ball across the penalty box to Emily Griffen for a goal. Thompson’s three assists tied the UCM record for most assists in a single game.
Ana Dilkes: Central Oklahoma vs. UCM (Oct. 6, 2017)
Ana Dilkes has 55 career shutouts, so it’s difficult to pick just one top moment from arguably one of the best goalkeepers in Division II.
I would argue, however, that one shutout stands out above the rest: the one against Central Oklahoma earlier this season. Dilkes posted five saves in the game, but it was a milestone she reached that made the game so significant. Dilkes’ shutout against Central Oklahoma marked an 11th consecutive shutout by the senior goalkeeper, setting a new MIAA record. Emily Huyck of Truman State held the previous record of 10 straight during the 2000 season. Her shutouts this season also broke the MIAA record for most consecutive shutouts by a team. The Jennies became just the fourth team division II in history to string together 11 consecutive shutouts.
Callie Henshaw: Emporia State vs. UCM (Oct. 13, 2017)
Henshaw played three seasons at UCM and served as an essential member of one of the best defenses in Division II. Henshaw and the Jennies defense that let up just 18 goals over those three seasons. While a long list of defensive plays account for Henshaw’s top moment, I elected her recent offensive success.
This past weekend, the Jennies hosted Emporia state. After just 13 minutes of play, the Lady Hornets became the first team of the season to score on the Jennies. Henshaw got ahold of a deflected shot that bounced off the goalie’s hands and sent it into the back of the net to tie the game. The goal was the senior defender’s first of her career.
These are my top moments from each senior. Are there any that I missed or overemphasized? Leave a comment and let me know what you think on the sports page of digitalBurg.com.