Congratulations are in order for the Benedictine College women’s soccer team’s players and coaches.
The Ravens put together the greatest run in program history, advancing for the first time to the NAIA National Tournament championship game. While it might be a program first, it was something that observers could see coming for the past several years.
Lincoln Roblee has been the head coach at BC since 2005 and in that time he has turned the program into a national powerhouse. Over the past five years, the Ravens have amassed a record of 91-17-7 with four consecutive trips to the NAIA National Tournament.
In those four trips, BC advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice, the semifinals twice and now made it the championship match.
This most recent stretch has come with one of the best players in the history of the BC women’s soccer program. Rosie McShane completed her career with a trip to the national championship, a spot on the All-Tournament Team and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
Yes, the player who led the Ravens in goals this season was named the best defensive player at the national tournament. It takes a special kind of player to do what McShane does on the field. She scored 27 goals her sophomore year and is the all-time leader in goals scored for the women’s soccer team.
She’s been named the Heart Offensive and Overall Player of the Year three consecutive seasons. She was a force in every aspect of the game and is undoubtedly one of the best players, if not the best player, BC has ever seen.
But McShane was not a one-player show for the Ravens. There is talent up and down the roster. Atchison’s own Madison Sanders turned into a terrific right back and was also named to the All-Tournament Team. A multi-sport star at Atchison High School, Sanders found her niche on the right side of the Ravens formation. She was strong defensively and also led BC in assists this season with 14.
There are also fellow seniors Ellen Loughman, Katie Miskin and Hailey McEntee to go along with McShane and Sanders. Those five have so many wins under their figurative belts, it might be hard to see how Roblee can replace them.
But just look at the returning roster next year. Emily Ambuul, who had one fewer goal than McShane, will only be a junior. Anna Romano scored 11 goals this season and will be back. Abbie Hair, Nicole Kelly, Logan Heacock, Olivia Meyers, Sydney Routh – all great players, all returning for the 2018 season.
This is how Roblee turned the BC women’s soccer team into a powerhouse season after season. BC doesn’t ride one or two great recruiting classes to a league title and NAIA Tournament berth. No, the talent comes in year after year and the players work hard to improve year after year.
The bar has been set high at Benedictine. The Ravens have taken another step this season and we shouldn’t be surprised if they take that final step sometime soon.