St. Charles Community College kickers win second straight Region 16 championship
Although, the program has been in existence for just seven seasons, there is something special going on these days with the St. Charles Community College’s women’s soccer team.
The Lady Cougars completed their season in early November with a 13-5 record and their second consecutive National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 16 championship.
Success on the pitch has become a regular occurrence over the past three years for coach Josh Tyler and the Lady Cougars. After a rocky first four years, SCC has logged three straight winning seasons and is getting noticed in soccer circles.
“We have put some pretty good seasons here recently and we have won 40 games over the past three years, so we’re really turning the program around,” Tyler said. “The level of play continues to rise for us and girls really bought into it this year and are having fun.”
Freshman midfielders Kyleigh Christiansen and Kayla Collie provided the offensive punch for SCC and led the club in scoring with 16 and 12 goals, respectively.
Alexa Riley, a freshman midfielder made her mark as the Region 16 Player of the Year.
On the backline, sophomore defensemen Morganne Dugger, Lacee Wesloh and Amanda Buhmann provided stout protection near the goal. Buhmann also was a big-time playmaker, racking up a team-high 8 assists during the season.
“Really, it was an entire team effort,” Tyler said.
After finishing ninth in the nation last year with a 15-5-1 mark, an appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament, the goal was for the Lady Cougars to repeat that this year. At mid-season, things started to click again for the club.
“We made it to the National Tournament last year and around mid-season this year, we felt like we had the pieces to make another run at the national tournament,” Tyler said.
On Oct. 31, the Lady Cougars knocked off St. Louis Community College 1-0 to claim the Region 16 championship. The following weekend was a trip to Lewis and Clark College in Godfrey, Illinois, to play Lewis and Clark for the NJCAA District D Championship, and a chance to return to the national tournament.
That day ended in disappointment as the Lady Cougars lost 3-1. But the loss would not take the luster off a season that once again helped put the program in a positive light and the school on the radar of potential players. With three great seasons to its credit the school is becoming a viable alternative to Division II, Division III, or NAIA schools.
“After going to the National Tournament, I’d like to believe that we’re turning it around,” Tyler said. “The struggle for us is the junior college stigma. ‘Oh you’re going to Junior College; you must not be very good.’ [SCC] players are going on to play Division II, NAIA and Division III, so they are getting substantial [scholarship money], and we compete against NAIA and Division II teams. That’s the respect we are fighting for.
“Every player that wants to go on and play will go on and play. We have college coaches that watch our games all the time, so every player that wants to go on and play, they definitely will.”