A Ladies Season Defined by Every Inch
Friday, November 6, 2009
SHREVEPORT-It is always impossible to define a season by the end result. Some may look back and see the amazing start or reminisce on the big wins, though in all, it is the combination of every exciting moment that built such a strong season, that one should remember.

The Centenary women's soccer team took advantage of its leadership and its team chemistry to provide the fans with a season to remember. Let's start from the beginning. With an impressive 5-0 start with wins over Letourneau, Arkansas-Little Rock, Prairie View A&M, UT-Brownsville, and Mississippi Valley State, the Ladies had the best opening of any season since head coach Chase Wooten took over the program in 2004.

"We are much improved from even a year ago. Our most improved aspect is that we found a way to go forward and score goals. Our defense has always been strong, though being able to score took pressure off the back," said Wooten.

Centenary was unique in that it rostered six seniors and 11 newcomers on the season. From freshmen to seniors, the Ladies had amazing performances throughout the 18-match season and received several weekly honors because of their play.

The first week out, The Summit League recognized freshman Courtney Morris as Offensive Player of the Week after scoring two goals and recording one assists in her first two games played.

Senior goal keeper Kate Donnelly was later honored as the league's Defensive Player of the Week when she tied the school record for most saves (19) in a single game.

And finally, sophomore forward Katie Valdez received Offensive Player of the Week recognition in the final week of play after helping Centenary to a 2-1 road record, tallying three goals for six points.

"With a roster nearly the same as last season, we did, however, have several newcomers step up and help out," said Wooten.

Though, finishing with a 3-5-1 record in league play and coming just shy of making the Summit League tournament, the Ladies had several positive moments that are hard to forget.

Earning First Team All-League was Valdez and being recognized among 11 league freshmen was Hisa Turner, who was honored on the All-Freshmen team.

A final overall record of 11-6-1 is the first winning record for Centenary in the past five years. At home, the Ladies were 6-3-0, while winning all three league games on the road in the month of October.

Statistically, Centenary outscored its opponents, 34-26 led by Valdez with a career-high 10 goals, while freshman Allison Rucinski and sophomore Chelsea Granger each netted five. As a team, the Ladies garnered 22 assists to their opponents' 12 as Valdez had a team-high nine.

With 150 shots on goal, Centenary was consistently better on goal with a .536 shot on goal percentage to its competitors' .512.

In goal for the Ladies this year was Donnelly, playing in 13 matches. She made 79 saves for a .859 percentage, while Deb Hill played in 10 matches. The sophomore goal keeper made 49 saves for a .790 percentage.

As the season looked bright from the beginning, six seniors were able to finish their collegiate careers having played an all-around successful season.

"The most positive aspect of the season was that we realized we are able to compete at our league's level. Instead of hanging close, we made teams defend us," said Wooten.