Carrying the Mantle

Carrying the Mantle

WATERTOWN, Wis. -- Was the 2018 season for the Sabercats Women's Soccer team a successful one?

Depends on the angle you take.

From one angle, the Sabercats faced heartbreak in the NCCAA Regional Championship for the second year in a row, as the Providence University College Pilots managed to repeat the story of 2017: down by a goal in the final minute of regulation, the Pilots equalized, then scored the winner in overtime.

That hurt. And for better or worse, it was the most memorable result of the season.

Going along with that, this is a program that had been to the NCCAA National Tournament in nine of 10 years coming into last year. So to miss out on the national tournament again is quite the downer.

But there's always more than one angle. This year's group accomplished a lot on a team level. The Sabercats posted their second season with a winning record since 2010 - a stat that may seem surprising for a program that has competed at the NCCAA National Tournament six times in that timeframe. This team stayed competitive in the process as well, as they defeated NACC opponents Lakeland for just the seventh time in 27 attempts and nearly defeated Edgewood College for the first time in program history.

Also, the Sabercats landed five student-athletes on the AD3I All-Independent 1st Team. Hannah EvansKimberly GroganAlison HernandezAlexis Sponable, and Hannah Wells all earned the AD3I's highest recognition. As an added bonus, Grogan, Hernandez, Sponable, and Wells were all named to the NCCAA North All-Region Team.

And let's look at it from the angle of individual accomplishments.

Alison Hernandez concluded her four-year career by becoming the first student-athlete in program history to earn NCCAA All-American honors. Hernandez now ranks ninth in career assists for the program (13 assists) while ranking 11th in career points with 55. Hernandez also was named as an AD3I 1st Team All-Independent selection for the second season of her career.

Alexis Sponable was up there as well, as the sophomore upped her career goals tally to 34, which is eighth all-time in program history. Sponable recorded three hat-tricks on the year which included four goals in the Sabercats' 8-1 defeat of Lincoln Christian. Sponable recorded 36 points this season, which lands her at a tie for seventh for single-season points in program history.

Hannah Wells took home NCCAA All-Region honors and was also named as the Goalkeeper of the Year for the AD3I. Wells finished the year with a .803 save percentage, which is good enough for seventh in program history (records date back to 2000).

A final angle is this: this team came together as a family, and they formed powerful bonds. Nine members of the team were playing in their final year, and they brought the other 12 team members along to prepare them to carry the mantle in 2019.

Jaclyn Dahl, Hannah Evans, and Amy Montgomery learned the midfield ropes at the college level, and the trio of freshman will be expected to carry that mantle into 2019, as the Sabercats look to get back to the national stage. Sophomores Alexis Sponable and Heidi Pape had key roles this season, but they will be relied upon to a greater extent in 2019 as well, as the team is slated to be void of any four-year players.

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"Every season has its ups and downs, and this was no different," said Coach Dave Anderson. "There are accomplishments which I think our staff and players can be very proud of but there are also the elements we look forward to improving in. [Key] positions are being vacated by seniors. I'm excited about the prospect of improvement and growth represented in our players and staff. I am also continually thankful for the opportunity to rub shoulders with the quality people God has allowed to be part of our program."

Anderson himself took home two noteworthy honors for the season's work, as he was named as the NCCAA North Region Coach of the Year while earning the same honor from the AD3I.

 

Awards

At last week's Athletic Awards Assembly, the Sabercats announced their team awards, which are based on the team's CORE BELIEF DOCUMENT. In addition to these honors, the student-athletes earned awards from the Association of Division III Independents and the National Christian College Athletic Association.

A complete breakdown of the awards is listed below:

CORE BELIEF AWARD                RECIPIENT
Excellence Award Alison Hernandez
Character Award Rachel Prigge
Family Award Kimberly Grogan
  Alyssa Wright
AD3I 1st Team All-Independent  
Hannah Evans Kimberly Grogan
Alison Hernandez Alexis Sponable 
Hannah Wells (Goalkeeper of the Year)    
   
NCCAA All-Region Selections  
Kimberly Grogan Alison Hernandez  
Alexis Sponable (North Region MVP) Hannah Wells
   
NCCAA All-America 1st Team Selections  
Alison Hernandez   
   
NCCAA All-American 2nd Team Selections     
Kimberly Grogan Alexis Sponable 
   
NCCAA Scholar-Athletes  
Leah Ng Alyssa Wright
Hannah Wells  

For more on the program, visit their team page HERE.

Groundwork: Laid
May 17, 2019 Groundwork: Laid
One for Good Measure
May 16, 2019 One for Good Measure
Causin' More Trouble
May 14, 2019 Causin' More Trouble
Forward Steps
May 10, 2019 Forward Steps
Two Down
May 6, 2019 Two Down
Causin' Trouble
April 23, 2019 Causin' Trouble
Time of Transition
April 8, 2019 Time of Transition
Go Time
March 28, 2019 Go Time
One Mo Time
March 18, 2019 One Mo Time
Pushing New Limits
March 15, 2019 Pushing New Limits
Recapping Records
March 13, 2019 Recapping Records
Mo Again
February 26, 2019 Mo Again
Hello Again
February 23, 2019 Hello Again
One Against Two
February 23, 2019 One Against Two
Softball Season: Cancelled
February 21, 2019 Softball Season: Cancelled
Double Double-Double Double
February 19, 2019 Double Double-Double Double
Top Spot for Regionals
February 19, 2019 Top Spot for Regionals
Another Top Spot for Regionals
February 19, 2019 Another Top Spot for Regionals
Tricks in the Book
February 19, 2019 Tricks in the Book
Mo' for Mo
February 12, 2019 Mo' for Mo
Double-Double Double
February 5, 2019 Double-Double Double
Wilkerson Weekly
February 5, 2019 Wilkerson Weekly
Breaking Down Barriers
January 30, 2019 Breaking Down Barriers
Callie Mo Steals the Show
January 29, 2019 Callie Mo Steals the Show
Caribbean Connections
January 24, 2019 Caribbean Connections
Year 2
January 17, 2019 Year 2
The Main Event
December 21, 2018 The Main Event
Carrying the Mantle
December 15, 2018 Carrying the Mantle
Peaks and Valleys
December 11, 2018 Peaks and Valleys
Another Accolade
December 7, 2018 Another Accolade
Brick and Mortar
December 7, 2018 Brick and Mortar
Book Grabs Weekly Award
December 4, 2018 Book Grabs Weekly Award
They'll be Back
December 4, 2018 They'll be Back
NCCAA All-Americans Announced
November 28, 2018 NCCAA All-Americans Announced
Record-Setting Fall
November 26, 2018 Record-Setting Fall
Only the Best
November 26, 2018 Only the Best
Setting things Straight
November 26, 2018 Setting things Straight
Chasing Four
November 14, 2018 Chasing Four
Hansel Hoards Awards
November 12, 2018 Hansel Hoards Awards
On the Rise
November 9, 2018 On the Rise
Monthly Honors for Hansel
November 8, 2018 Monthly Honors for Hansel
Eyeing the Finish Line
November 8, 2018 Eyeing the Finish Line
Hands down Hansel
October 30, 2018 Hands down Hansel
Sponable Strikes Again
October 30, 2018 Sponable Strikes Again
Hats Off for Hansel
October 23, 2018 Hats Off for Hansel
A Nod for Nelson
October 23, 2018 A Nod for Nelson
New News, Old News
October 16, 2018 New News, Old News
Add it to the Collection
October 10, 2018 Add it to the Collection
Honors for Hernandez
October 9, 2018 Honors for Hernandez
Johnson, Sponable Shine On
October 9, 2018 Johnson, Sponable Shine On
Rankin Secures Weekly Award
October 2, 2018 Rankin Secures Weekly Award
Johnson Doubles Up
September 18, 2018 Johnson Doubles Up
Alumni Day 2018 Review
August 25, 2018 Alumni Day 2018 Review