AMERICUS, Ga. -- Head women's soccer coach Enrique Rodriguez created history this year by beating three National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II teams, something that has never been done in this program. At the beginning of the 2018 season, Rodriguez wanted to make history in one form or another, therefore branding the #RowTheBoat hashtag. Using that saying, he wanted his team to be together and row effortless week by week - in which they were.
"I used row the boat as a meaning to push that we are all on one accord and we cannot move without each other," head coach Rodriguez said. "I'm very proud of my team; even with all the obstacles we faced this season, we stayed in sync and continued to row the boat."
Rodriguez is coming off an 0-15 inaugural season but has coached the squad to a 3-14 finish, which led to an overall improvement both on and off the field. Compared to last year stats, the Lady Canes took 99 more shots this season which led to an increase of goals scored this year.
September 5th marked their first win of the season, with a 3-2 double overtime victory over Southern Wesleyan. Alison Rugel scored the game winning goal in the 109th minute to get the programs first win in 27 games, 16 while under Rodriguez. Their next win came against Spring Hill College, as the Lady Canes came home with a 2-1 victory. Ella Hawkins scored early in the 3rd minute, followed by a goal in the 34th minute by Emily Collum to return back to Americus with another solid win.
GSW received their first historic home win under the lights when Albany State (who joins the PBC next year) came to town. On October 24th, Rugel started things early with a goal in the 9th minute that pushed the squad up 1-0 before Hawkins took over, scoring two back-to-back goals (21' and 24') to claim a 3-1 victory over their future PBC opponent.
The women's soccer team has also been putting in countless community service hours, as GSW is atop the NCAA DII Helper Helper Community Service competition. During the week of Sept. 28 - Oct. 4, GSW was ranked 1st in Helper Helper community service hours and has been one of the top five teams each week this semester.
To cap the historic season, the Lady Canes placed three players on the 2018 PBC All-Academic team. Hawkins is a Management major with a 3.31 grade point average, who was named to the list for a third consecutive year. Nursing major Michelle Gustavsen made her second appearance with a perfect 4.00 GPA while Leila Hamed, the Psychology major with a 3.41 GPA, received her first nomination to the team.
"The team showed character in complicated moments," Rodriguez said. "We're going to use that momentum to build and carry onto next season."
Comparison of Rodriguez's first two seasons:
|STATISTICS CATEGORY||2018 OVERALL||2017 OVERALL||
|Shots on goal||89||31||36||10|