Preview by Kurt Miller
The 2016 Regular Season
Playing in its third consecutive MIAA tournament and winning its first regular season championship since 1999, the Kalamazoo College women's soccer team has high hopes for postseason play beginning with an MIAA semifinal match-up with Alma College on Thursday, Nov. 3.
After beginning the 2016 season with a 1-2-1 record through their first four games, the Hornets rattled off 10 consecutive wins putting themselves atop the MIAA table for the vast majority of the season. Despite battling injuries and a tough schedule in the final five games of the season, Kalamazoo secured the No. 1 seed in the conference with a 3-1 win on the road at Olivet in the regular season finale.
With all but one player returning from the 2015 roster for the 2016 campaign, it seemed as if there would be few unknowns about the Hornets throughout the fall, but senior Emma Tardiff, who returned from study abroad in 2016, gave the team an added boost. Even though Tardiff seemed to play limited minutes throughout the season, she led the team with 10 goals, the fifth-highest goal total in the MIAA.
Outside of Tardiff, the Hornets' scoresheet was relatively balanced throughout the year with eight different players scoring between three and five goals, so while Kalamazoo would continue to welcome Tardiff's top form in the tournament, the group's success this season has been a collective effort.
Multiple players played limited minutes at different times of the season in midfield, but Paige Sambor's remained a constant presence as the team's holding midfielder in 2016. An All-Region selection in 2014, Sambor's consistent play has stabilized the center of the field for Kalamazoo as she's recorded two assists and four goals, two being game-winners.
Arguably the team's most consistent unit on the field, though, has been the backline. The tested presence of Christina Dandar, Katie Sorensen and Sarah George combined with newcomers Rosella LoChirco and Madison Vallan has limited conference opponents to just 13 goals this season, the fewest number of goals against in the MIAA.
Thursday, Nov. 3 - Semifinals
Saturday, Nov. 5 – Final
TBA at TBA