2-1 loss to Findlay ends trying season
November 15, 2010 —
Although the Cardinals didn’t advance to the regional tournament, it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.
With a 9-8-1 overall record and 8-6-1 GLIAC record, the Cardinals season came to an end after a 2-1 overtime loss to Findlay in the quarterfinals of the GLIAC tournament.
With a young team and rash of injuries like no other coach Drago Dumbovic has seen in his coaching career, the Cardinals were forced to use a makeshift roster for the majority of the season.
“It was a very frustrating season because we never got to use the same lineup for more than two consecutive games,” Dumbovic said. “It seemed like someone was getting hurt every game.”
The Cardinals were so banged up that the team held open tryouts in September to attract new bodies.
“Two of the girls we took from the open tryouts ended up getting significant playing time for us,” Dumbovic said. “We just couldn’t stay healthy.”
Injuries along with a roster that included only two seniors combined to make for a tough season for the inexperienced group.
“We ended up using players that would normally get a year to sit behind a veteran and watch them and then contribute next year,” Dumbovic said. “Instead of giving those players time to grow, some ended up starting.”
When the Cardinals were semi-healthy at the beginning of the season, they defeated Wisconsin-Parkside, a team that went on to lose only one other game in the regular season. In other spurts, SVSU also showed promise, but wasn’t able to sustain momentum.
“Our goal was to win the GLIAC and advance to the regional tournament, and we showed that we were a quality team at different times,” Dumbovic said. “There was just too much for us to overcome.”
While the season was full of ups and downs, sophomore midfielder Tiffany Bell thought the Cardinals gained valuable experience for next season.
“You could tell the team was growing the more games we played,” Bell said. “I think this season will help us in the future.”
In the Findlay loss, the Cardinals were outshot 18- 6, with junior defender Abby Bellamy scoring her first goal of the season.
“It’s so difficult to lose a game like that in overtime,” Dumbovic said. “We knew that we had to win that game to have a chance to get in the regional tournament and we came up a little short.”
Dumbovic was surprised that it took Bellamy until the final game to score her first goal.
“She’s a great player that I thought would score a lot of goals but other teams always put two or three players on her so it made it difficult for her to score,” he said.
Even in defeat, Dumbovic thought the Cardinals played one of their top games of the season.
“Findlay had 18 shots but a lot of those shots were’t on net so that stat is a little off,” he said. “I thought we played very well. It just didn’t go our way.”
Looking ahead to next season, the Cardinals lose senior forward Kaysie Morand, who will be a difficult player to replace.
Not only will the Cardinals miss Morand’s offensive prowess (she had three goals in 2010), but more importantly her leadership.
“Kaysie [Morand] was pretty much everything you would want in a student-athlete,” Dumbovic said. “We will miss everything she gave us.”
SVSU fared much better at home than it did on the road, with a 6-3-1 home record and a 3-5 road record. Dumbovic said it’s just a matter of getting accustomed to playing at the Division 2 level.
“With everything that happened this year, this will help us grow and mature in the future,” he said. “We should be a strong team.”
For now, the Cardinals will use the offseason to get healthy and prepare for the 2011 season.
“We just need to continue to work hard and improve because we were close in a lot of games,” Bell said. “As long as we do that, we’ll be fine.