KANSAS CITY – The Adrian College women's soccer team entered the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III Central Region Poll at No. 10 this week. It's the first time this season the Bulldogs have been regionally ranked by the USC.
The ranking comes on the heels of the Black and Gold sweeping the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week awards, as yesterday freshman Sarah Brannan was named the Defensive Player of the Week and sophomore Megan Louwers received the nod for Offensive Player of the week. AC picked up two big conference shutouts last week, blanking Calvin on the road 1-0 and stopping Kalamazoo at home 2-0. Head Coach Ali Alamdari is proud of his team's progress throughout the year, saying:
"On paper, our first six matches didn't go well. We struggled to execute in key moments and it seemed like every mistake came back to bite us. It was especially tough because, at the same time, we were playing some fantastic soccer and really outplaying nearly everybody we faced. Fortunately, we dug in and our girls were positive and committed to absorbing everything we worked on in training. We're glad to see that we're starting to get the results we deserve. Getting a little recognition doesn't hurt, but we are squarely focused on the next game."
While Adrian has cemented itself as one of the better defensive teams in the MIAA, the offense has woken up in conference play, as a trio of Bulldogs sit atop the points leaderboard in conference games so far this year. Junior Caroline Fleming is leading the way with eight points while Louwers and freshman McKenna Mahoney are tied for second with seven points each. Alamdari has recognized the team's improved offense this year from top to bottom, saying:
"One of the criticisms of some of our past Adrian teams was that we had star power but the attack wasn't balanced enough. If teams could figure out how to neutralize our main target, we had a hard time getting a result and when those players graduated, we struggled to replace them statistically. As we started rebuilding this roster from the ground up a few years ago, that was a prime concern. We wanted to become more well-rounded and multi-dimensional. It's taken a great deal of time and energy on the recruiting trail and training field, but we feel like we have a roster and style of play where anybody can put the ball in the net, from starters to subs and strikers to centerbacks."
The MIAA was well-represented in this week's central region poll, with three of the 10 teams belonging to the oldest athletic conference in America. Hope fell two spots to No. four and Calvin stayed put at No. six. Hope is also ranked No. 17 in the national poll. The Bulldogs host the Flying Dutch this Saturday, Oct. 13 at noon in a game that could have title implications down the road.
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