For the 2009 women’s soccer season, the MIAA introduced a new rule that only the top six teams in the regular season would exceed onto the MIAA tournament. The Lady Brits avoided a foreshortened season and squeezed into the final spot of the tournament, placing sixth in the MIAA with a record of 4-3-1.
“We knew what we had to do, and even though we didn’t win as many of the games as we would have liked, we worked hard and made it into the tournament,” said Ali Oatley, Ann Arbor senior.
Albion not only made it to the tournament but won.
“We always knew we had the potential to win the tournament,” said Caitlin Bowman, Augusta senior. “We worked hard and got the outcome we wanted.”
Bowman’s performance was a key factor in helping the Lady Brits win the championship, since all three tournament games were decided in overtime or a shootout. In the first round, Albion won in a shootout against Alama, 3-2, and pushed for an overtime to win 1-0 against Adrian in the semi-finals.
“An attacking mentality was the key factor to winning the game,” said Lisa Roschek, head coach. “There was not one point in the game where we gave up or didn’t give our full effort.”
After tying Kalamazoo during the regular season, 1-1, Albion got their second chance in the tournament championship game.
“We have been working on footwork and quick play,” Roschek said. “We have also been sharpening up our corner kicks, free kicks and penalty kicks, just in case.”
The game did end up going into a shootout, and the Britons won 5-4. Albion relied on seniors Chelsea Gray, Midland senior, and Oatley, who each made their shots, and Bowman, who had eight saves.
“The seniors are the backbone of our team; without them we wouldn’t have won,” said Sarah Polnasek, Albion junior.
The win earned Albion their first bid to the NCAA Division III tournament since 2002 Albion lost 2-1 to Augustana College.
“After winning the MIAA my sophomore year (2007), we were unable to enter the tournament,” Oatley said. “Finally experiencing it was amazing.
Oatley, Bowman, and Gray were all named all-MIAA. In Oatley’s four years at Albion, she led the Britons in scoring. Despite playing defense, Gray tied for third in scoring on the lead in 2009. Bowman led the league with a .885 save percentage and recorded 11 shutouts.
“I want the legacy of the seniors to be that we worked hard and accomplished our goals,” Bowman said. “We knew what we wanted at the beginning of the season and did everything we could to make it happen.”