Bruins women celebrate seniors, defeat Cougars 1-0

The Bruins women’s soccer team earned a key conference win Friday, Oct. 18, on their own turf at Alumni Stadium, defeating rival Clearwater Christian College by a score of 1-0. The victory by the second ranked Bruins upset the Cougars, the only team ahead of them in the NCCAA Division II rankings.

The game was designated “Senior Night,” as the final home game of the 2014 season was dedicated to the five graduating seniors on the squad: Isobel Johnston, Tori Anderson, Caitlyn Lehman, Victoria Musselman and Rebecca Luttrell. And each of the seniors played a key part in the upset victory.

In the first half, with only 48 seconds elapsed, junior midfielder Jennifer Wise struck for a goal. The Bruins caught the Cougar defense on their heels as Caitlyn Lehman split the defenders with a beautiful pass that Wise deposited into the lower right corner of the net. The goal would prove to be all the Bruins needed as Wise’s second game-winning goal in two games. Clearwater was never able to overcome the early deficit.

Throughout the rest of the first half, neither team generated any significant offensive opportunities. “We still have to get sharper, making better decisions with the ball,” Head Coach Chris Carmichael said. “We will have a little time before regionals to get the pieces put together.” Possession will be key for the Bruins as they head into postseason play. Carmichael also alluded to the fact that some injured key players will return in time for the postseason run.

During halftime, BJU honored each of the seniors and thanked them for their dedication and leadership on and off the field during their collegiate career. In the ceremony, each senior was recognized for her individual accolades. The seniors were also given a rose as a token of appreciation.

Going into the second half, the Bruins attempted to possess the ball more on offense and add an additional goal. But Clearwater opened the second half with excellent energy and generated several more scoring opportunities.

The best chance for the Cougars to equalize came when Wise committed a handball in the box, leading to a penalty kick five minutes into the second half. Senior goalkeeper Tori Anderson dove to her right and blocked the attempted equalizer for the most important defensive play in the game. As her final home game, Anderson will never forget the memorable night as she tallied 13 saves on the way to her sixth shutout of the season.

Both teams generated strong opportunities throughout the rest of the second half, but neither team could find the back of the net. The Bruins, although imperfect, earned a solid win by defeating the top-ranked Cougars.

The BJU team heads into the final week of the regular season with their sights on yet another championship run.