Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Following a difficult 2012 season, first year head coach Geriann Druyos entered the 2013 season with expectations to take the next step for the Holy Cross women's soccer program. After the grind of training camp, the non-conference schedule and the ever competitive Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) season, it's safe to say that Druyos had a productive first season at the helm. The Saints not only broke five program records but demonstrated each time they took the pitch that they weren't going to go down without a fight. This story will take you back along the way of the 2013 Holy Cross women's soccer team.
Kicking Off 2013…
On August 22 the Holy Cross women's soccer team opened up the 2013 non-conference schedule at home against Mount Mercy University. A team they struggled against in 2012, where they fell 5-0, the Saints showed right from the start that they were determined to play a better brand of soccer.
"The ladies came into preseason in shape excited about the season," Druyos stated. "You could sense from the very beginning that they were determined to have a successful season."
In the game against Mount Mercy, the Saints responded after giving up a goal in the first minute to tie things up after Mayte Carillo Benavides (Chicago, Ill.) scored her first career goal. The positive vibes continued for the Saints in this season opener as they scored a late first half goal to take a 2-1 halftime lead. Mount Mercy found the equalizing goal early in the second half to tie things at 2-2 before regulation ended with a 2-2 tie and the Saints headed to overtime.
The Mustangs quickly found the game-winning goal in the overtime session to give the Saints a heartbreaking loss to open the season.
"The game was the definition of good soccer," continued Druyos. "I was proud of the girl's resiliency to fight throughout the entire game. Although the result was not what we had hoped, it was good to see the team start the season out strong."
Impressive First Win
The Saints were quick to rebound following their season opening loss to Mount Mercy with their most impressive win in program history over Andrews University and the first win for head coach Geriann Druyos.
Goals began to come at a rapid pace as the Saints quickly opened up a 4-0 halftime lead over the host Cardinals. The Saints added four more in the second half to defeat Andrews 8-0 for their first win of the 2013 season.
Following the match, the Saints would return home for another non-conference game against Lindenwood University-Belleville.
After picking up their first victory of the season, the Saints were looking for back-to-back wins for the first time in program history.
A defensive minded game for the majority of 65 minutes, the Saints broke through in the 67th minute with a goal from Mayte Carillo Benavides to take a 1-0 lead against the Lynx. The Saints defense stepped up big in the final stages of the game to secure the 1-0 victory and improve to 2-1 for the first time as a program. The win also gave the Saints their first winning-streak in the history of the program. Senior goalkeeper Aileen Clouse (Beavercreek, Ohio) picked up her first shutout of the season.
"In the past, I'm unsure if we would've felt we could have won this game," continued Druyos. "This team has bought into the style of play we'd like to play and they're continuously getting better. The strides they've shown from game one to now is through the roof. It was a fun win for our team, but now we must get back to work and continue to work on refining our game for our next match."
First Taste of Adversity…
Following the two-game winning-streak, the Saints traveled to Ohio to take on the University of Northwestern Ohio in non-conference play. This game was the first time this season where the Saints struggled significantly against an opponent.
The Racers held the Saints to zero shots for the game while defeating them 6-0. Now it was time to regroup and prepare for their final non-conference home game.
Back on Track…
The Saints returned home to face Andrews University for the second time this season. Much like their first meeting, the Saints controlled the pace from the initial whistle and scored four first half goals. With two goals added in the second half, the Saints extended their lead to 6-0 and picked up a much needed win following the loss to Northwestern Ohio.
Closing Out the Non-Conference Schedule…
After falling to Lawrence Tech in their non-conference finale 5-0, the Saints closed out their non-conference schedule with a 3-3 record; their best six-game start. Now the real challenge was beginning with the grind of the CCAC schedule.
Life is never easy during the CCAC season, especially when you open it up with a top 10 opponent The Saints kicked off conference play playing host to the No. 8 Olivet Nazarene Tigers, a perennial NAIA National Tournament participant. The Tigers took control from start to finish defeating the Saints 6-0 to open up CCAC play.
The Saints rebounded to play much better against Saint Xavier University, but couldn't get a goal despite outshooting the Cougars for the game. It wasn't until the third game where the Saints scored their first goal of the conference season in a 2-1 loss to Calumet St. Joseph.
Following the difficult loss to the Crimson Wave, things began to get tougher on the Saints. Over the course of the next seven games, the Saints were held scoreless in each game, including a tough 1-0 loss in overtime to Roosevelt University. It was not until the season finale at Trinity International where freshman Karina Cain (Yuma, Ariz.) scored a goal to end the drought for the Saints.
Despite finishing the CCAC season winless, the Saints showed that they could hang with the upper level teams.
"We lost four games in overtime or in the last 10 minutes of the game when trying to press for the win," Druyos continued. "If we win those games, our record looks a lot different."
The Saints finished the 2013 season with a record of 3-14, surpassing the 2012 total of two wins.
Over the course of the season, the women's soccer team surpassed a number of program records. One of the most important being having a full roster for the season. In the past, the team would be down to just 11, and sometimes 10, players. This season, they had a full roster of 23 players.
- September 1, 2013 also marked a unique milestone for the team. This was the first time that both the men's and women's team won a game on the same day.
- The 2012 team struggled to score goals, finishing the season with only five in 18 games. In 2013, the team more than tripled their total from the previous year with 19 goals in 17 games.
- The Saints also reduced their goals against by nearly 50% from the previous year. In 2012 they gave up 92 goals compared to just 54 this season.
- Mayte Carillo Benavides matched a program-best 13-point season and set a program-best for goals in a year with six.
- Leah Trattles (Holland, Mich.) became the all-time point leader with 15 through her junior season.
Saying Goodbye to the Seniors…
The Saints will lose five seniors to graduation for next year's team, all of which were starters in 2013. Lindsey Swaim (Elkhart, Ind.), Kayla Vanlue, Aileen Clouse, Taylor Paoulos (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) and Sonia Bonilla (Chicago, Ill.) will all move on from Holy Cross women's soccer but will not be forgotten.
"All five of these girls were an integral part of turning around this program," Druyos said. "They were great leaders for our younger players this year and really gave it their all on the field. We will certainly miss them next season, but are so thankful for their hard word, dedication and commitment to our program in their times as Holy Cross student-athletes."
The future certainly looks bright under the guidance of coach Druyos. With 18 players returning for next season, look for the Saints to continue to take positive strides in the difficult CCAC. The 2013 team demonstrated resiliency throughout the season in good times and rough patches.
On behalf of Holy Cross athletics, thank you to the entire women's soccer team for a fun 2013 season. We look forward to future successes next year.
Lastly, to the fans: Thanks again for all of your support for the ladies during this season!
Until next fall, enjoy the offseason and be sure to stay tuned to hcsaints.com for all of your Holy Cross athletics needs.