The Seattle University women’s soccer team gave visiting Chicago State a harsh reality check regarding the competitive level of Division I soccer on Sunday. It took just 30 seconds for the Redhawks to take the lead, and they never looked back.
Stephanie Verdoia made a strong run into the box for the first goal of the game, crossing to Jacqui Wallis who finished strong, allowing two seniors to make their mark on a game being played in celebration of their collective four year achievements. However, it was Verdoia who would eventually steal the headlines in a whopping 11-0 victory, tallying a hat-trick of goals to cement herself in the record books as Seattle U’s all-time leading scorer with 47 career strikes.
With a single regular season game, the WAC conference tournament, and potentially NCAA tournament games still to come, Verdoia could add even more goals to her name before her career comes to an end. Wallis added another goal of her own eight minutes later, making the score 3-0, and by halftime the sides were well separated with Seattle U leading 7-0.
Head Coach Julie Woodward was undoubtedly happy with the performance of her squad as well as the seniors, but on this day, it was Verdoia who stood out.
“One of the greatest things about Stephanie is she’s not just a great soccer player; she’s a great person,” Woodward said. “And I think part of the reason she’s having success is [because] she’s disciplined, she’s committed, she’s a person of high character.”
Verdoia was also recently nominated for the NCAA’s 2014 Senior CLASS Award, a recognition that acknowledges a student-athelete’s excellence in four categories: community, classroom, character, and competition. She is one of only ten other female D1 soccer players from across the country who is eligible for the award.
Woodward was keen to note that big victories such as this can’t be credited to only one member of the team.
“The things that make a good team great are the abilities of everyone to contribute. Whether players on my team are playing 90 minutes or for ten minutes or two minutes, they make a difference,” she said. “They make a difference in training, and they make a difference in games like today. And today’s one of those games where everyone gets minutes, and that’s good for the development of our team.”
Younger players were also able to get a piece of the scoring for the Redhawks, with freshmen Jennifer Plummer and Sunshine Soriano adding goals, Plummer just before halftime and Soriano in the 60th minute. Seattle U finished the game with a total of 32 shots, and could’ve increased their margin of victory if the frame of the goal hadn’t intervened on multiple occasions.
Seattle U will travel next week to face Utah Valley before coming home to play the WAC conference tournament at home on Championship Field. Woodward is content with being able to play their conference tournament at home, but was still adamant that her team needs to come in playing well.
“We want to be playing our best soccer right now,” she said. “It’s great knowing we’re going to be on our home field, we have great fans and a lot of local support.”
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