The ball crosses the line as the crowd erupts in screams of joy as the women’s soccer team makes it to the semifinals of the American Southwest Conference playoff tournament. Head Women’s soccer coach and UMHB Alumnus Barry Elkins said.
The shot “was the most amazing finish I’ve ever seen. In all my years of playing soccer, I’ve never seen a winning goal like that.”
Elkins, a former soccer player for the university from 1992-95, became head coach last year. He has already helped coach the team into its first winning record in four years and received ASC Coach of the Year. The tournament Nov. 7-9 put the team to the test.
Elkins said, “This was our first trip, and I had no experience in the ASC tournament. We played pretty good, finishing 2-1 against Concordia scoring the last second, [then] played University of Texas at Dallas in the semifinals.
Although the Cru fell short, there was still plenty to be proud of. “They had a goal in the end to win the game. We didn’t make any real mistakes that stood out,” Elkins said.
The team featured seven freshmen starters. One is freshman nursing major Kathryn Parker. She received ASC Offensive Freshman of the Year after leading the ASC in shots (74).
“No one knew what to expect. I felt really good though. I had my goals, but I didn’t know if I could accomplish them,” Parker said.
The Cru faced adversity all year but fought through it all.Parker said the training “was working for us. The closer we got to the tournament you have more injuries that you have to worry about because you’re worn out from the season.”
A big loss came when the team had to play without one of their leaders.
“Our center back Charis Brantley got hurt and it really affected our second game because of how much she contributes to the team.,” Parker said.
The Cru have a lot to look foward to next season. Elkins said, “as well as we did, we can improve. This gave us a cornerstone for what’s to come.