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Player spotlight: women’s soccer

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BY MADDIE TOPLIFF

This weekend, the Drake women’s soccer team will be ready to star in the Missouri Valley Conference championship tournament in Springfield, Missouri. The Drake women are seeded No. 1 in the tournament and will play University of Northern Iowa on Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m. at the Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium. The winner of the Drake-UNI game will play in the championship two days later on Nov. 5. All of the tournament matchups will be featured on ESPN3.

Although there is no “I” in team, here are three standout players from the regular season who will continue to prove vital to the success of the Drake women’s team in the MVC tournament this weekend and, hopefully, in the confirmation of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament berth.

Rebecca Rodgers is a redshirt senior midfielder who is majoring in elementary education at Drake University. She yields from Peotene, Illinois and graduated from Peotene High School before coming to Drake in the fall of 2013. Rodgers has made a fierce impact on the team from the beginning, having led the team in goals her first year. This season, Rodgers has started for 16 out of 18 total games played. One of those 18 games in particular stood out. Against Valparaiso, Rodgers scored a hat trick and recorded a season high in shots-on-goal with four. Other season accomplishments include three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Soccer Player of the Week awards, bringing her career total to eight mentions overall. Rebecca Rodgers is Drake’s all-time leading scorer, able to claim 39 goals as her own accumulated during her time at Drake University. Although she hasn’t scored since Oct. 11, Rodgers will continue to be the point person for calm, calculated goals, which is an important asset in tournament play. In the past few weeks, she has, however, been consistently attempting to shoot which will be a substantial-enough amount of pressure on UNI.

Alyssa Brand is a junior midfielder from Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois who is majoring in both finance and marketing at Drake. Brand has seen action in 17 games this season. Following the game against Illinois State in which Drake claimed victory and the MVC regular season title, Brand was named the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Soccer Player of the Week for the second time in her career at Drake because of her two goals that eventually led to a 3-2 victory. All season Brand has proved to be aggressive in both midfield attack demonstrated by her impressive ball technique and on the offensive side of the field having recorded over 40 shots this season. Her shots-per-game average is 2.41 shots, second only to Rodgers. Not only is Brand shooting a lot, but she’s shooting accurately, tied for second place in shots-on-goal. Brand’s two goals on the season came on the later side, but now that she’s broken through the dry spell, Brand’s consistent drive and persistence should pay off big-time come tournament play.  She should have the time to do so as well, as she has played almost three complete games in the past three matchups, putting up 90 minutes against both Missouri State and Illinois State and 85 minutes against Loyola.

Hannah Bormann is a first-year forward from Amana, Iowa and a graduate of Clear Creek Amana High School. She is currently majoring in elementary education. As an impressive newcomer, Bormann has played in all 18 games this season with the Bulldogs, recording impressive numbers such as her shot average which comes to 1.56 shots per game. In the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title-clincher, Bormann played for 81 minutes: a season high. Other notable feats for the first-year include her three Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week awards earned this season. She is currently tied for most season assists alongside Alyssa Brand and senior defender Ali Smith. Bormann is also tied with senior midfielder Rachel Wanninger for second-most total goals. In the earlier part of the season, Bormann scored the game-winning goal against Creighton mid-September which led to her first MVC award. Bormann and Rodgers work well together, so utilizing the pair as a unit will prove very useful for Drake this weekend. Against Valparaiso, Rodgers scored a hat trick and Bormann assisted her two out of three times.

Honorable mentions

Senior defender Ali Smith was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defender of the Week award twice this season as well as scoring the winning goal against Illinois State. She is also tied for first in season assists.

Senior defender Kasey Hurt has been instrumental in helping the Bulldogs claim eight shutouts on the season and has applied awesome pressure offensively, especially on corner kicks. She recorded an impressive 110 minutes of play time against Missouri State.

Be sure to watch the women in action this weekend on ESPN3 because if they win the tournament, they will automatically earn a berth to the NCAA tournament, a goal the team has eyed since the beginning of the regular season.

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