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Dream season thwarted in conference tournament for Howard women’s soccer

Although they did not win the NEC tournament, making it into the semifinals through numerous wins, the Howard women’s soccer team had a successful 2023 season.

Pictured is junior forward Melea Earley at the conference semifinal against Central Connecticut State University. (Photo courtesy of Mike Orazzi)

After a successful season with numerous wins, the women’s soccer team made it to the Northeast Conference (NEC) tournament. 

Ending the season with a record of 12-6-2, the team has shown significant improvement since the previous season, and the hard work has paid off.

In the 2022 season, the team had a record of 3-11-2. A remarkable change has been made within a year for the team to now have twelve wins this season. With a collective determination and eagerness to win, the Bison were able to change the trajectory of the 2023 season; making it one filled with development. 

Midfielder and team captain Savannah Hersh, a junior sociology major from Huntingtown, Maryland, explained, “So with everyone being on the same page that this team and program was no longer a joke, we were able to collectively put in a lot of time and effort into making this team a very talented one.”

From three wins in the 2022 season to now 12, the Bison are pleased with the turnaround they have made and feel gratitude for the outcome of the effort put in. 

“Honestly I’m really proud of my team. We were able to turn our record completely around in comparison to last year and I feel like having this record and so many wins under our belt this year is a big win for us, itself,” said Melea Earley, a junior forward and captain on the team. 

Adjustments were made for the Bison to pave the way for a season marked by numerous wins, one being a change in the captains. The freshmen on the team also contributed to the new atmosphere that created an environment of new beginnings and growth.

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“I think changes in leadership as well as what the main team focus was, has helped as well as a lot of the new personnel in our freshman class and the things they were able to contribute on the field,” said Earley. 

Captains this season, Earley and Hersh, encouraged the closeness of the team by creating several opportunities for the team to grow closer. This was showcased on the field as they coherently worked together against each opposing team.

“Even after preseason, our captains made it a point to have team bonding events that would help boost our team chemistry and I think that truly helped us play together as one unit instead of individuals,” said Trinity Knox, a freshman goalkeeper from Atlanta, Georgia. 

The offense and defense equally contributed to the record this season as well. The balance between attacking the other team’s goal and being able to defend their own made winning games an easier task. 

When asked if the offense or defense contributed to the frequent wins, Hersh responded, “ I think it was a 50/50. We had lots of goals scored this year, which is something that we lacked last year, and we also had much less goals scored on us!”

With the improvement made in the span of one year, attending the NEC tournament is a great accomplishment for the team. 

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“Playing in it is very exciting because this is the first time for anyone in this current team that anyone has made it this far,” said Hersh. “As a captain, it really makes me very proud to see all the hard work this team has put in and to see it pay off as we got to this point.”

In the conference semifinals, the Bison lost to Central Connecticut State University, concluding their season. Even though they did not win the tournament, the season was still filled with accomplishments. Everything that was achieved was achieved as a unit. The team’s comradery took them far this season and they will retain the tools to do the same next season. 

“The main thing I want to take from this season into next season is the team chemistry. I feel like it helps the girls have fun and feel supported the whole way through, which makes winning that much easier,” said Earley. 

Copy edited by Whitney Meritus 


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