Jennies kick off the MIAA Quarterfinals


Senior forward Hannah Pyle, No. 16, douses her teammates with drinking water to celebrate the team’s MIAA Tournament title.

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Jennies soccer won its seventh straight MIAA regular season title this weekend, earning the No. 1 seed in the MIAA Tournament. The Jens will open the tournament with today’s home game against Washburn.
“I think we’ve been preparing for this game all season,” said senior forward Hannah Pyle. “At this point everyone just needs to go into it well rested and focused. We have to take each game individually, and our goal is to win out the season.”
The Jens closed out the regular season last week with a pair of home wins against Lindenwood and Missouri Western, improving their record to 16-1 overall, 10-1 in the MIAA. Pyle said the postseason marks the best part of the year.
“It means something,” Pyle said. “Not that the other games don’t, but we’re here to win a championship so that’s what we want to do.”
The Jens end the season first in the MIAA in points (119) and goals (44), and second in assists (31). They sit atop the MIAA in scoring average, earning 2.588 per game. The Jens had 15 shutouts this season, the most in program history, and allowed just three goals in the regular season, which is the fewest in program history.
“We worked hard all season to be in this number one spot,” said junior goalkeeper Ana Dilkes. “So now that we’re here, we have to keep working hard to keep it.”
Senior defender Emily Eldridge said a mutual respect for one another off the field makes it easier to play together on the field.
Dilkes said she thinks this is the best year the Jens have had since she joined the team. She said the success can be attributed to the team getting along and developing good chemistry.
“That helps a lot, going into the game, we all get along,” Dilkes said. “Team chemistry is huge, being there for each other is huge. We all love soccer so it’s really easy to do what you love to do.”
When it is all said and done, it comes down to team chemistry for the Jennies.
“To be honest I think this has been one of the best years, chemistry-wise,” Pyle said. “I think that the team gets along really well. You look on the field and you can tell each girl plays for the girl next to her, and we stress that every game.”
Dilkes said team chemistry is also built on good leadership.
“It’s a lot easier to respect one another when you’re looking up to people who respect you as well,” Dilkes said. “Team chemistry is based off your captains, when captains have good chemistry it’s a lot easier for the team to have that too.”
Dilkes said the diversity in team age and experience is a resource.
“I think having a wide range of talent and intelligence helps, maybe a senior doesn’t think like a freshman or a freshman doesn’t think like a senior,” Dilkes said. “Having that spectrum of soccer knowledge helps.”
Pyle said the upperclassmen bring the maturity, but the underclassmen keep the fun in the game.
“The younger girls help us bring some relaxation, reminding us that this is the sport we love (and to) have some fun,” Pyle said.
As the season enters the postseason, Pyle said the Jens have far from peaked.
“I think something that you always struggle with is stringing together 90 minutes,” Pyle said. “And I think as the season goes on, we’ve gotten better each game. And I think it’s good we haven’t quite hit our peak yet.”
The Jennies host the Washburn Ichabods in the MIAA Quarterfinals at 7 p.m. today at the South Recreational Complex. The Jens are undefeated at home this season.